Singer R Kelly convicted in US sex trafficking trial

Jury finds R&B star guilty of racketeering on second day of deliberations

A jury has found R&B star R Kelly guilty of being the ringleader of a decades-long racketeering and sex trafficking scheme that preyed on black women and children. Photograph: Antonio Perez/AFP via Getty Images

A jury has found R&B star R Kelly guilty of being the ringleader of a decades-long racketeering and sex trafficking scheme that preyed on black women and children. Photograph: Antonio Perez/AFP via Getty Images

 

A jury has found R&B star R Kelly guilty of being the ringleader of a decades-long racketeering and sex trafficking scheme that preyed on black women and children.

The singer was found guilty on all nine counts on Monday afternoon after decades of avoiding criminal responsibility for numerous allegations of misconduct, in a major #MeToo victory for black women and girls.

The panel of seven men and five women had begun deliberating the charges on Friday afternoon after prosecutors and defence attorneys finished their closing arguments at the end of a gruelling six-week trial in Brooklyn, New York, that often presented shocking testimony.

The 54-year-old singer, who was born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was accused of running a Chicago-based criminal enterprise that recruited women and children for unwanted sex and mental torment. Multiple witnesses said Kelly had subjected them to perverse and brutal whims when they were underage in a scheme that stretched back more than two decades.

Kelly, perhaps best known for the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly, had denied any wrongdoing.

The women’s stories received wide exposure after the 2019 Lifetime documentary Surviving R Kelly, which explored claims that an entourage of supporters protected Kelly and silenced his victims for decades.

Months after the release of the film, Kelly was arrested in July 2019 on federal charges of racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of women or girls for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery. – Guardian