‘He wasn’t expecting that’: R. Kelly’s defense lawyer says star surprised by guilty verdict in racketeering, sex trafficking trial
R&B singer R. Kelly has been found guilty of racketeering and trafficking in his six-week sex abuse trial in which 11 accusers took the stand concerning crimes committed over two decades. He faces the rest of his life behind bars.
On Monday, after two days of deliberation, a Brooklyn court returned a guilty verdict for the 54-year-old singer, Robert Sylvester Kelly, known by his stage name, R. Kelly. Along with eight accounts of sex trafficking, the R&B star was found guilty of racketeering, a crime normally reserved for organized crime syndicates.
“Mr. Kelly is disappointed. He was not anticipating this verdict because based on the evidence, why should he anticipate this verdict,” defense lawyer Deveraux Cannick told the media.
He was found guilty of all the charges he was facing. Among his accusers were nine women and two men. The singer – perhaps most famous for the award-winning song ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and the FIFA 2010 World Cup song – was accused of a host of deplorable criminal activities.
The jury said Kelly was the ringleader of a violent and coercive group that lured women and children to sexual abuse. He was also found to have trafficked women across the US for prostitution and produced child pornography.
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Many of his victims were picked out at concerts and some were enticed to join his entourage with the promise that he would help with their fledgling music careers. Once within Kelly’s circle, they were forced to comply with strict laws, dubbed “Rob’s rules” by his team.
“I’m ready to start living my life free from fear and to start the healing process,” said one woman who testified that Kelly imprisoned, drugged and raped her. The woman, known only as Sonja, said she had “been hiding” from the singer due to threats made since she went public with her accusations.
Gloria Allred, a lawyer who represented some of the victims said “Kelly is the worst” of all the sexual predators that she had pursued in her 47-year career.
Several of the allegations were originally made public in the 2019 documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly’. Monday’s verdict comes 13 years after Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges following a trial in Illinois.
His sentencing will take place on May 4, 2022. He could face life in prison.
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