R. Kelly Found Guilty Of Sex Trafficking And Racketeering
Singer and songwriter R. Kelly has been found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges.
A jury of seven men and five women found Kelly guilty of all nine counts against him on the second day of deliberations.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Kelly used his employees to operate a criminal enterprise across state lines, allowing him to sexually abuse young women for years. Kelly pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.
Prosecutors called dozens of witnesses to testify that Kelly allegedly groomed women for unwanted sex. Witnesses included women who were victims of the abuse, and employees who worked for Kelly and ignored what he was doing.
Accusations made against the star included that he allegedly gave several people herpes without disclosing that he had an STD, convincing a teenage boy to join him having sex with an adult woman and filming a video of him smearing feces on a woman’s face as punishment for breaking one of his rules, among other things.
The defense’s witnesses stated that they never saw Kelly abusing anyone, and the defense argued that any sexual acts committed were consensual.
One of Kelly’s lawyers, Deveraux Cannick, said he was disappointed with the verdict and that he hopes to appeal.
“I think I’m even more disappointed the government brought the case in the first place, given all the inconsistencies,” Cannick said.
Kelly was previously charged for allegedly owning child pornography, but was acquitted in 2008. Kelly faces separate charges in Illinois and Minnesota, which he pleaded not guilty to as well.
Allegations against Kelly have been circulating for years but were largely ignored, until the documentary series Surviving R. Kelly was produced, giving his victims a voice as they shared what they endured.
The series renewed public attention to the case and caused a public outcry calling for Kelly’s arrest. It also lead to a conversation about how black women had previously been left out of the #MeToo movement, which was a central aspect of Kelly’s case since the majority of his victims were black.
Kelly will be sentenced next May. He faces the possibility of life in prison.
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