A jury of seven men and five women found the music star R. Kelly guilty of leading the blackmail and white meat trade, which involved African-American women as well as underage girls.
The singer and musician were found guilty on all nine counts on Monday afternoon. The jury began hearing Kelly’s case after completed speeches by prosecutors and defense attorneys in a six-week trial.
Eleven people who accused the singer of sexual abuse – nine women and two men – also testified in court in a six-week trial. They described the sexual humiliation and violence Kelly was committing.
Kelly’s lawyers tried to portray the women who accused him of sexual abuse as former fans who felt cheated when they lost his favor. They also claimed that their sex with Kelly was voluntary, Reuters reported.
Kelly’s head was bowed as he read the jury’s decision, his face covered by a white veil. One of the women in the courtroom cried as she read the verdict. The singer’s legal attorney, Deveraux Cannick, later told reporters in front of the courtroom that the defense was disappointed by the jury’s findings.
The three Grammy Award winner and author of the hit I Believe I Can Fly allegedly used sophisticated networks of managers, bodyguards and other members of his team to look for girls and women who the singer subsequently abused. However, R. Kelly denies all allegations.
The indictment claims that the singer demanded absolute obedience from his victims. Without permission, Kelly allegedly did not allow women and girls to go to the bathroom or forbade them to look at other men. The accusation came to the public after the broadcast of the documentary Surviving R. Kelly (in Czech R. Kelly and his victims), in which several women described sexual and psychological violence by a famous musician.
A few months after the film aired, Kelly was arrested in July 2019 on federal charges of extortion and transportation of women or girls for prostitution. Kelly is due to learn the verdict on May 4 and is facing life imprisonment.