Singer R. Kelly found guilty of 16 counts of sex trafficking

Tuesday September 28 2021
world01pix

R&B star R. Kelly. PHOTO / AFP

By AFP

R. Kelly on Monday was convicted of leading a decades-long sex crime ring, with a New York jury finding the superstar singer guilty on all nine charges, including the most serious of racketeering.

After six weeks of disturbing testimony, the jury deliberated just nine hours before finding the incarcerated 54-year-old celebrity guilty of systematically recruiting women and teenagers for sex, before grooming and brutally abusing them.

Wearing a light blue tie, pinstriped navy suit and a white mask, Kelly sat largely motionless, holding his head down and periodically closing his eyes behind black-rimmed glasses.
He faces up to life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for May 4.

To convict Kelly on the most serious charge of racketeering, jurors had to find him guilty of at least two of 14 "predicate acts" -- the crimes elemental to the wider pattern of illegal wrongdoing.

Lurid testimony intended to prove those acts included accusations of rape, druggings, imprisonment and child pornography.

The jury of five women and seven men found that all but two of the acts had been proven.
Kelly was also convicted on all eight charges of violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex trafficking law.
"We're disappointed with the verdict," Kelly's attorney Deveraux Cannick told journalists outside the courtroom.

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He said they would be "considering" an appeal.
Kelly still faces prosecution in three other jurisdictions, including Illinois federal court.
One of the 1990s' brightest stars whose hits included "I Believe I Can Fly," the disgraced Kelly was long trailed by abuse allegations, but evaded them for decades.

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