R.Kelly found guilty of all nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking
After years of being dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse, R&B superstar R.Kelly was convicted guilty of racketeering in a high-profile sex-trafficking case.
Since he was formally charged with 14 underlying actions in 2019, including sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, and sex trafficking, the singer has been in detention and on trial in New York for one count of racketeering. He was then charged with eight more charges of violating the Mann Act, a sex trafficking legislation that prohibits persons from being transported across state boundaries “for any immoral purpose.”
Despite the fact that R.Kelly, best known for the 1996 hit “I Believe I Can Fly,” pleaded not guilty to all charges and refused to testify in his own defense, prosecutors claimed that the singer was a serial sexual predator who abused young women and underage girls and boys for more than two decades.
Kelly was the head of a criminal enterprise whose objective was to entice children, boys, and women to the R&B artist for his sexual enjoyment, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York successfully proved to a jury of seven men and five women.
Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes accused Kelly and his crew of employing strategies from “the predator playbook” to manipulate their victims in a two-day closing argument.
He was accused of keeping victims in hotel rooms or his recording studio, controlling when they could eat and use the restroom, and forcing them to obey numerous “rules,” including insisting on calling him “Daddy.”
During the five-week trial, fifty prosecution and defense witnesses testified, including victims referred to as “Jane Does” in Kelly’s indictments. The prosecutor called 45 witnesses..
He was found guilty of crimes involving six victims, including sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, racketeering, and sex trafficking. His sentence is set for May 4, 2022 in New York. Kelly could face a sentence ranging from ten years to life in prison.
Kelly also has outstanding criminal charges in Cook County, Illinois, where the state attorney indicted him in February 2019 for aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims (three of whom were minors), and Minnesota, where he was charged in August 2019 with engaging in prostitution with a minor.
The singer will face a second federal trial in Illinois for child pornography and obstruction of justice. Some of the claims originate from a child pornography trial in Chicago in 2008, in which he was acquitted on all counts.
Kelly was regarded as one of the kings of R&B in the 1990s and 2000s. With songs like “Bump N’ Grind,” “I’m a Flirt (Remix),” and the “hip-hopera” effort “Trapped in a Closet,” he was largely recognized with helping to reinvent the genre.
With the development of the #MeToo movement, his behind-the-scenes acts drew further public scrutiny, resulting in the #MuteRKelly social media campaign, record boycotts, and protests across the United States.
The Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” which premiered in 2019 and contained evidence from many accusers, increased demands for the singer to face legal consequences for his alleged abuse habit.