1990’s superstar R&B singer R. Kelly was found guilty on Monday of all the counts he faced, in a trial featuring accusations that he sexually and physically abused and exploited girls and women for decades.
Specifically, a federal jury in New York found him guilty of racketeering and eight counts of violating of the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people across U.S. state lines for prostitution.
A grim-faced Kelly listened as the jury returned its verdict after a trial that lasted more than five weeks and two days of jury deliberations. He faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced on May 4 of next year.
The 54-year-old Robert Kelly had a string of hit songs in the 1990s, including his biggest, “I Believe I Can Fly”, which won a Grammy award in 1996.
But rumors persisted for years that he was engaged in illicit activities with women and minors in his hometown of Chicago, and prosecutors said that for at least two decades, Kelly would lure them into his sphere, and later physically and sexually abuse them. Some of that abuse, prosecutors said, was captured on video that he himself recorded.
His defense lawyers portrayed Kelly as generous to future would-be singers, and that he was the victim of overzealous, lying fans and girlfriends who wanted to use their connection to him to become famous after their music careers fizzled.
But prosecutors also accused Kelly’s entourage of often covering for his illicit activities. They described how Kelly married R&B singer Aaliyah in a Chicago hotel room in 1994, when she was 15 years old, and how a member of Kelly’s team later bribed a welfare office employee into making a fake identification card, to indicate she was 27 years old. Aaliyah later died in a plane crash.
It is not clear if any of Kelly’s employees will face charges, but Kelly is facing more charges of his own, accused of sex crimes in both Illinois and Minnesota.
Original article published by Anadolu Agency