R. Kelly found guilty in sex trafficking and extortion trial

R. Kelly sits as the chairman of the jury reads the guilty verdict in Kelly’s sexual abuse trial in Brooklyn United States District Court in a sketch of the courtroom in New York on September 27, 2021.

Jane Rosenberg | Reuters

R&B singer R. Kelly was found guilty Monday of all counts in a high-profile sex trafficking case by a federal jury in Brooklyn, the US Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York said Monday.

The verdict represents the first criminal consequence for Kelly after decades of sexual assault allegations. In 2008, he was acquitted of 14 charges in a highly publicized child pornography case in New York.

Kelly was tried for extortion and 14 underlying acts including sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and sex trafficking. He was also charged with eight additional counts of violations of the anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.

The criminal process began on August 18, lasted approximately six weeks, and included the testimony of more than 45 witnesses. The jury, made up of seven men and five women, began deliberating on Friday afternoon.

Kelly now faces the possibility of decades in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 4. The singer also faces charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

Best known for the 1996 hit song “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case and did not take the stand in his own defense.

In this case, six people alleged that the singer was a serial sexual predator who abused young women and underage girls and boys for more than two decades.

During the trial, several victims were identified as “Jane Does” in the allegations, including singer Aaliyah, who died in 2001. Aaliyah was called Jane Doe 1.

Kelly infamously married Aaliyah in 1994 when she was only 15 by misrepresenting her age as 18 in the couple’s marriage license application.

Rumors of Kelly’s exploits circulated for years before charges were brought against the singer. In fact, “Surviving R. Kelly,” a Lifetime documentary series released in 2019, along with the rise of the #MeToo movement, intensified calls for Kelly to face legal consequences for her alleged pattern of abuse.

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