R&B singer and songwriter R. Kelly has been found guilty on all counts of racketeering the New York U.S. Attorney’s office has announced.
R. Kelly has been convicted of racketeering by a federal jury in Brooklyn— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) September 27, 2021
The trial took 23 days to complete and included 50 witnesses overall.
The outlet reported that “Kelly has been on trial in New York for one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, and sex trafficking charges. He is also charged with eight additional counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law.”
In closing statements, Kelly’s attorney Deveraux Cannick claimed that the government “misled jurors” and that the witnesses called onto the stand had consensual relationships with the singer and are now trying to “cash in” on fame.
“A lot of people watched Surviving R. Kelly, and unfortunately a lot of people are now surviving off of R. Kelly,” Cannick said.
Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes told jurors that Kelly mishandled his brand and used his celebrity to “target, groom and exploit girls, boys and women,” CNN reported.
“It is now time for the defendant, Robert Kelly, to pay for his crimes. Convict him,” Geddes said.
This verdict comes 13 years after Kelly was acquitted for child pornography charges at an Illinois state trial per the outlet.
The 13-count indictment was released back in July of 2019 in the Northern District of Illinois accused Kelly of videotaping himself of having sex with at least four girls younger than 18 beginning in 1998. Once the singer found that the tapes were missing from his “collection” he later spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to retrieve the tapes CNN reported.
That same year, Kelly was also indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims, three of whom were listed as younger than 17 in Cook County, Illinois. A few months later the grand jury “also indicted the singer on 11 counts, ranging from aggravated criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual assault to aggravated criminal sexual abuse.”
“R. Kelly’s Enterprise was not only engaged in music; as alleged, for two decades the enterprise at the direction of R. Kelly preyed upon young women and teenagers whose dreams of meeting a superstar, soon turned into a nightmare of rape, child pornography, and forced labor,” said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge from Homeland Security Investigations back in Kelly’s 2019 indictment per PEOPLE.
After this trial, R. Kelly still faces state and federal charges including child pornography and obstruction charges. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges and denies any wrongdoing.