WorldAfter damning testimonies, it's time for deliberations

After damning testimonies, it’s time for deliberations


50 witnesses, 21 days of often damning testimony … The jurors of the trial of R. Kelly withdrew Friday to determine if the ex-star of the R & B was guilty of having been in control for 25 years of a “system Which would have allowed him to sexually exploit young women, including minors. In the absence of a verdict in the early evening, the judge sent the jurors home for the weekend, before deliberations resumed on Monday.

During the trial in Brooklyn Federal Court, nine women and two men testified that R. Kelly had sexually abused them, describing rape, forced drug use, imprisonment and even facts child pornography.

The 54-year-old singer, known for his hit I Believe I Can Fly, is tried in particular for extortion, sexual exploitation of minors, kidnapping, corruption and forced labor, over a period going from 1994 to 2018. The artist, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is accused of having perpetrated these crimes with impunity, profiting of its notoriety. 90s R&B star R. Kelly has always denied the facts. He faces life imprisonment. This case is seen as a major moment in the #MeToo movement: it is the first time that the majority of complainants are black women.


Many of the alleged victims have recounted having met the star at concerts, during which they were given a small piece of paper with the singer’s contact details by his entourage. The influential singer could do something for their musical career, they were promised.

Instead, all were “brainwashed” in the dark world of R. Kelly, assure the prosecutors, forced to have sex with the singer and kept in this system by “coercive measures”.

Six women are at the center of the affair. Among them, Sonja, who said she traveled from the US state of Utah to R. Kelly’s studio in Chicago, believing he would give an interview to the radio show she was interviewing for. traineeship. Instead, she said she found herself trapped by her associates in a windowless room for days, before she was given food and drink that made her fall asleep. She said she woke up without her underwear to see R. Kelly put her pants back on. Another woman said he had forced her to have an abortion, having become pregnant with him as a minor. Four women said he had transmitted herpes to them, without warning them that they had the disease.


“He’s not a genius. He’s a criminal. He’s a predator, ”Deputy Prosecutor Nadia Shihata told jurors. In a tone sometimes mocking, the defense on the contrary portrayed the victims, some of whom were minors at the time of the facts, as groupies greedy for money.

The lawsuit also explored in detail the relationship of R. Kelly with Aaliyah, whose singer produced the first album before illegally marrying her when she was only 15 years old. At the stand, her former manager admitted to bribing an official to provide the singer with false papers so that the marriage, which was later invalidated, could take place.

This marriage certificate is part of a large set of exhibits unveiled during the hearings, supposed to incriminate the singer. Throughout the trial, the artist remained unmoved. He only appeared to fidget during the long indictment of the indictment, shaking his head several times. The verdict of this trial will not be the last episode in this legal saga: R. Kelly has also been charged with numerous sexual abuses in Chicago and at the federal level in the states of Illinois and New York.



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