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April 13, 2023
Jurors have found R&B singer R. Kelly guilty of racketeering, including acts of bribery and sexual exploitation of a child, along with separate charges of sex trafficking.
In this federal case in the Eastern District of New York, Kelly faced a total of nine counts, one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and sex trafficking charges, and also eight additional counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law.
Kelly was found guilty of nine counts, one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act. Of the 14 underlying acts for the racketeering count, he needed to be found guilty of at least two to be convicted of that count. Jurors found prosecutors had proven all but two of the 14 underlying racketeering acts.
The panel of seven men and five women had begun deliberating the charges on Friday afternoon after prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their closing arguments at the end of a grueling six-week trial in Brooklyn, New York, that often presented shocking testimony detailing Kelly’s abuse of women, girls and boys. He remained motionless, eyes downcast as the verdict was read.
“To the victims in this case, your voices were heard and justice was finally served,” the acting US attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said Monday, announcing the verdict. Gloria Allred, a lawyer for some of Kelly’s victims, said that of all the predators she’s gone after a list including Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein – “Mr Kelly is the worst”. “R Kelly thought that he could get away with all of this, but he didn’t,” Allred said outside the courthouse.
In a series of tweets, the New York attorney general, Letitia James, hailed the verdict as an “important moment for accountability in the #MeToo movement” and said more work was needed to combat sexual abuse against Black women and girls. “For decades, R Kelly physically and sexually abused women and underage girls … We must do more to protect, defend, and believe our girls before 30 years pass by.”
One of Kelly’s lawyers, Deveraux Cannick, said he was disappointed and hoped to appeal. “I think I’m even more disappointed the government brought the case in the first place, given all the inconsistencies,” Cannick said.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: FORBES