He had been overtaken by the MeToo era. On Monday, ex-R&B star R. Kelly was convicted of leading for years a “system” sexual exploitation of young people, including minors. The jurors included in their verdict all nine charges against him, including those of extortion, sexual exploitation of minors, kidnapping, corruption and forced labor.
New York court said Robert Kelly, his city name, sometimes punished “violently” his victims, kept them “docile” and “silent”, “blackmailing them” especially with information from the photos and videos he had recorded.
The facts began in 1994 and would have continued until 2018.
This verdict comes after six weeks of trying trials. A series of testimonies from women, young girls and boys facing an accused who has always denied these accusations and described as“immobile” and of “mutic” by the American press throughout the proceedings.
A long-standing “predator”
In the past, whoever is behind the planetary tube “I Believe I Can Fly” (released in 1996) had been tried, then acquitted, in a case of child pornography. In 1994, the singer had already scandalized during his illegal marriage to R&B singer Aaliyah, when she was only 15 years old. In the meantime, the wave of denunciation of violence against women carried by the hashtag #MeToo has encouraged some of the singer’s victims to make themselves known to the American justice system.
The allegations against him then resonated with the general public through the documentary “Surviving R Kelly”, aired in 2019, which explored the system that would have been put in place around the singer to silence his victims. He was arrested several months later.
Since then, this trial has been one of the most anticipated in the United States. “I have practiced law for 47 years. During that time I have prosecuted many sexual predators who have committed crimes against women and children. Of all the predators I have prosecuted, Mr. Kelly is the worst.”, commented victim lawyer Gloria Allred, who has also worked on the trials of Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein.
According to one of his lawyers, the singer, who has been remanded in custody, is considering appealing the verdict. He will still have to wait until May 4, 2022, date of the decision on the criminal sanction that will be imposed on him. He faces life imprisonment.
This is not the only lawsuit facing the singer, who has pleaded “not guilty” in two other sex scandals in Illinois and Minnesota. The dates of these trials are not yet known.
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