R&B singer R. Kelly was found guilty by a federal jury in New York on all nine charges he faced in a racketeering and sex trafficking case.
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, faced charges of sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, forced labor, sexual trafficking across state lines, and racketeering involving six victims.
The jury had been deliberating since Friday afternoon after the six-week trial.
Kelly, 54, faces a sentence ranging from 10 years to life in prison. He will remain in jail until his sentencing, which is scheduled for May 4 . Kelly had pleaded “not guilty” on all counts.
The high-profile case is part of the broader #MeToo movement, emerging as a result of multiple women accusing Kelly of sexual misconduct.
Kelly rose to fame in the 1990s, with hit songs such as “I Believe I Can Fly” earning him several Grammy Awards, but suspicions of sexual misconduct followed him throughout his career. He was accused of having a short and illegal marriage to the late singer Aaliyah in 1994, when she was 15, and three decades later admitted to having “underage sexual contact” with the singer. In 2008, he was charged in Chicago with 14 counts of possession of child pornography but was narrowly acquitted.
In 2019, the documentary Surviving R. Kelly aired on Lifetime. It included testimony from victims and their families who alleged that Kelly held young women and girls against their will in nonconsensual sexual relationships. Kelly was then charged with two separate indictments of sex trafficking in Brooklyn and Chicago in July 2019.
During the trial in Brooklyn’s Federal District Court, which the COVID-19 pandemic delayed by six months, Kelly’s defenders argued that the accusers were jilted former groupies. The prosecutors contended that Kelly used his fame to coerce into sex young women who came to him to jumpstart their music careers.
Kelly did not testify in his own defense at the trial.
He still faces federal charges of child pornography and obstruction in Chicago and the same charges on the state level in Minnesota. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges and denies any wrongdoing.
Author : Virginia Aabram
Source : Washington Examiner : R. Kelly found guilty in sex trafficking case