The trial of R. Kelly: In court for sexual assault verdict

In this courtroom sketch, R. Kelly listens as the jury foreperson reads the verdict, Sept. 27, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

Paris, 2022-06-29 05:40:24. The trial of R. Kelly: In court for sexual assault verdict

New York –

R&B star Kelly faces the prospect of spending a quarter of a century or more in prison when he is sentenced Wednesday in a federal sex-trafficking case in New York.

A jury found Kelly, 55, guilty of racketeering and other charges last year in a trial that was seen as a defining moment in the #MeToo movement.

Outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct with young women and children was fueled in part by the widely watched docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which gave voice to defendants who questioned whether their stories had previously been ignored because they were black women.

US District Judge Ann Donnelly is set to impose the ruling in federal court in Brooklyn after hearing statements from victims and possibly Kelly himself.

Prosecutors are seeking a minimum sentence of 25 years, while the defense says a prison sentence of 10 years or less is all he deserves.

Kelly’s lawyers argued in court papers that he should get a break in part because he “experienced a traumatic childhood involving severe and long-term sexual abuse of children, poverty, and violence.”

They added: “His abuse continued into adulthood, when the accused, due to deficiencies in his literacy, was repeatedly defrauded and financially abused, often by the people he paid to protect him.”

A jury convicted the crime-maker “I Believe I Can Fly” after learning how he used his entourage of directors and assistants to meet girls and keep them obedient, as prosecutors said the operation amounted to a criminal act.

Several defendants testified that Kelly subjugated them to depraved and sadistic whims when they were underage.

Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, used his “fame, money and popularity” to “systematically” abuse children and young women for his sexual gratification, prosecutors wrote in their private files earlier this month.

The defendants alleged that they were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments such as violent beatings on the buttocks if they violated what one referred to as the “Rob Rules”.

Some said they believed that videos he filmed of them having sex would be used against them if they revealed what was happening.

There was testimony by Kelly to several accused of herpes without disclosing that he had an STD, forcing a teenage boy to join him to have sex with a naked girl who came out from under a boxing ring in his garage, and filmed a scandalous video of one of the victims showing her smearing. excrement on her face as punishment for breaking his rules.

Evidence has also been provided about a fraudulent marriage scheme set up to protect Kelly after he was feared to have carried the R&B phenomenon high in 1994 when she was just 15 years old. He was 27 years old at the time.

Aaliyah worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, Age Not a Thing but a Number. She died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.

An earlier defense memorandum suggested that the prosecution’s arguments about the higher ruling were overridden by the false claim that Kelly participated in the payment of a bribe to a government official in order to facilitate an illegal marriage.

Kelly’s lawyers also said it was wrong to assert that he should have been given more time because he sexually assaulted one of his victims – referred to in court as “Jane” – after her parents innocently entrusted him to help her with her music career.

“The record shows that Jane’s parents ordered Jane to lie to the defendant about her age and then encouraged her to seduce him,” the papers say.

Kelly has been jailed without bail since 2019. He still faces child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago, where a trial is set to begin August 15.

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