R. Kelly Found Guilty of Sex Trafficking and Racketeering, Now Faces Life in Prison

R. Kelly on Monday was convicted of nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking, which included acts constituting sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and violating of the Mann Act.

According to CNN, the jury was made up of seven men and five women, who began deliberations on Friday. The federal trial began on August 18 in the Eastern District of New York. Kelly had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is due to be sentenced on May 4. He now faces several decades to life in prison.

According to The New York Times, prosecutors said that over the course of two decades, Kelly and his “inner circle” tried to recruit girls and young women for sexual exploitation and to produce pornography. The racketeering charge — which carries up to 20 years in prison — came with 14 related acts that jurors had to consider in deliberations, including bribery, kidnapping, forced labor and violations of the Mann Act — a federal law that criminalizes sex trafficking.

Eleven men and women accused Kelly of misconduct, including several people who had previously not gone public with their allegations of abuse at the hands of the now 54-year-old singer over the course of his career. The case involved testimony from 50 witnesses and centered around Kelly’s interactions with several women and girls, including Aaliyah, who he illegally married in 1994 when she was 15 and he was 27.

Kelly’s lawyer, Deveraux Cannick, said following the trial that the defense team was “disappointed” by the outcome and would consider appealing the verdict.

Gloria Allred, a lawyer for several of the accusers, praised the verdict but lamented the decades of accusations made against the star before he was finally convicted of a crime. “Justice moves at a glacial pace,” Allred said, according to The Times.

Kelly has faced increased public scrutiny in recent years following the 2019 release of the Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” In 2008, Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in Chicago.
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