- Title: R. Kelly is found guilty in sex trafficking trial
- Date: 27th September 2021
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 27, 2021) (REUTERS) PETE FITZHUGH, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE FOR HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS IN NEW YORK, WALKING TO MICROPHONE (SOUNDBITE) (English) PETE FITZHUGH, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE FOR HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS IN NEW YORK, SAYING: "Today's verdict brings an end to Robert Kelley's decade 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. Today's decision demonstrates that our system of justice knows no boundaries and will hold criminals accountable regardless of their fame or fortune. Mr. Kelly once said, 'I'm no angel, but I'm no monster either.' I wholeheartedly disagree with that." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) PETE FITZHUGH, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE FOR HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS IN NEW YORK, SAYING: "Today, a jury of Mr. Kelly's peers confirmed with these courageous victims have known for far too long. Mr. Kelly is a prolific serial predator." END OF NEWS CONFERENCE VARIOUS OF FEDERAL COURT EXTERIOR
- Embargoed: 11th October 2021 21:42
- Keywords: R. Kelly sex abuse. verdict sex trafficking
- Location: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: US
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA002EWHX0ZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: R. Kelly was convicted by a federal jury on Monday (September 27) in his sex trafficking trial, where prosecutors accused the R&B singer of exploiting his stardom over a quarter-century to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex.
Jurors in Brooklyn federal court deliberated for a little more than one day before voting to convict the 54-year-old Kelly on all nine counts he faced, after a 5-1/2 week trial.
Kelly had been charged with one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people across state lines for prostitution.
Prosecutors said Kelly took advantage of his fame and charisma to recruit victims, including some plucked from crowds at his concerts, with the aid of people in his entourage.
Witnesses said some victims had hoped Kelly could jumpstart their careers, only to find he demanded their strict obedience and would punish them if they failed.
Trial testimony from government witnesses portrayed, often in graphic detail, an unseemly side to Kelly's 30-year music career, whose highlights include the 1996 Grammy-winning smash "I Believe I Can Fly."
Kelly has repeatedly denied sexual abuse accusations.
The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is one of the most prominent people tried on sex charges during the #MeToo movement, which amplified accusations that had dogged him since the early 2000s.
Like Kelly, many of his accusers were Black, differentiating the case from recent #MeToo convictions of comedian Bill Cosby and movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Cosby's conviction was overturned in June.
Kelly's alleged victims included the late singer Aaliyah, who Kelly briefly and illegally married in 1994 when she was 15. Aaliyah died in a 2001 plane crash.
Many accusations against Kelly were included in the January 2019 Lifetime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly."
Several witnesses testified that Kelly instilled fear if his victims did not fulfill his every need, sexual and otherwise.
Jurors heard how Kelly would compel victims to follow "Rob's rules," including that they call him "Daddy" and get permission to eat or go to the bathroom.
One witness hoping to interview him for a radio station said he locked her up for at least two days without food or water before assaulting her.
Witnesses also said Kelly pressed accusers to write "apology letters" to potentially absolve him of wrongdoing, and concealed before intercourse that he had contracted herpes.
The racketeering charge gave prosecutors leeway to offer evidence that might otherwise be too old to prosecute.
Kelly did not testify in his defense, which lasted about two days.
His lawyers sought, including during cross-examinations of several witnesses, to portray Kelly's accusers as former fans who felt jilted when they fell from his favor, and that their sex with Kelly was consensual.
They also tried to show how some accusers stayed with Kelly long after the alleged abuses began, and questioned why they failed to go to the police or waited years to come forward.
On top of the conviction, Kelly still faces federal charges in Chicago on child pornography and obstruction, and state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
(Production: Angela Moore, Hussein Waaile, Dan Fastenberg)
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