R. Kelly found guilty of sex trafficking

Published September 28, 2021, 4:50 PM

by Punch Liwanag

A jury at a Federal trial of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn found singer R. Kelly guilty on all counts of racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, and kidnapping last Monday, Rolling Stone reports.

According to a Department of Justice statement, the verdict can land Kelly “a mandatory minimum and up to life in prison.”

The case against R. Kelly, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, “included racketeering, transportation to engage in illegal sexual activity, and coercion of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity charges. The racketeering charge and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits sexual trafficking across state lines, were particularly central to the prosecutors’ case to ensure the singer and his associates were held responsible for coordinating the sexual abuse of minors.”

According to Rolling Stone, the “jury deliberated for nine hours before returning a guilty verdict on all counts.” The racketeering verdict on Kelly stems from the prosecutors being able to establish that “Kelly was the leader of a criminal enterprise that preyed on women and underage girls for sex.”

The evidence prosecutors presented covers three decades, with more than 40 witnesses, including 11 accusers. Criminal charges were also raised in connection with Kelly’s marriage to the late singer Aaliyah who was only then 15 years old.

“Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator. To the victims in this case, your voices were heard and justice was finally served. No one deserves what they experienced at his hands. Or the threats and harassment they faced,” U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said at a press conference following the verdict.

Homeland Security Investigations special agent-in-charge Peter Fitzhugh added, “Today’s verdict brings an end to Robert Kelly’s decades-long reign of terror over many vulnerable girls, boys and young women. With this verdict, it is my sincere hope that it will also begin the healing process for these brave survivors. Mr. Kelly once said, ‘I’m no angel, but I’m no monster either.’ I wholeheartedly disagree with that.”

R. Kelly sentencing hearing is set for May 4, 2022. The singer is being held without bail.

 
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