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R&B hitmaker R. Kelly convicted in court of sex abuse in New York City

NEW YORK — R&B star R. Kelly faces a quarter-century or more in prison when he is convicted in a federal sex trafficking trial in New York on Wednesday.

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

Outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct toward young women and children was fueled in part by the widely acclaimed documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which featured prosecutors who wondered if their stories had previously been ignored because they were black women.

US District Judge Ann Donnelly will hand down the verdict in federal court in Brooklyn after hearing testimony from victims and possibly Kelly herself.

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

Kelly’s attorneys argued in court filings that he should take a break in part because he “experienced a traumatic childhood characterized by severe, ongoing sexual abuse, poverty and childhood violence.”

They added: “His victimization continued into adulthood, where the defendant was repeatedly betrayed and financially abused because of his dyslexia, often by the people he had paid to protect him.”

The jury condemned the “I Believe I Can Fly” hitmaker after hearing how he used his entourage of managers and helpers to meet girls and keep them obedient.

Multiple accusers testified that Kelly subjected her to perverse and sadistic whims when she was a minor.

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

Prosecutors said they were ordered to sign non-disclosure agreements and faced threats and punishment, including violent caning, if they violated the so-called “Robs Rules”.

Some said they believed the videotapes he recorded of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what happened.

There was testimony Kelly gave to several herpes accusers without disclosing that he had an STD, forced a teenager to have sex with a naked girl who emerged from under a boxing ring in his garage, and filmed a shaming video of a victim , which she showed while smearing feces on her face as punishment for breaking his rules.

Evidence was also presented of a fraudulent marriage plan hatched to protect Kelly after he feared he had impregnated R&B phenomenon Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15. he was 27 then.

Aaliyah collaborated with Kelly who wrote and produced her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number in 1994. She died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.

A previous defense memo suggested prosecutors’ arguments for a higher sentence, trumped by false claims that Kelly was involved in paying a bribe to a government official to facilitate the illicit marriage.

Kelly’s lawyers also said it was wrong to suggest he should be given more time for sexually abusing one of his victims – referred to in court as “Jane” – after her parents innocently confided in him helping her with her music career help.

“The file shows that Jane’s parents instructed Jane to lie to the defendant about her age and then encouraged her to seduce him,” the newspapers read.

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

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc13.com/r-kelly-rb-singer-sex-trafficking/12003162/ R&B hitmaker R. Kelly convicted in court of sex abuse in New York City

Dais Johnston

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