Singer R. Kelly was found guilty of sex-trafficking by a federal jury on Monday. Prosecutors accused the singer of using his celebrity for a quarter-century to entice women and underage girls into his orbit for sex.
After a 5-1/2 week trial, jurors in federal court in Brooklyn debated for a little more than a day before voting to condemn Kelly, 54, on all nine counts he faced.
Kelly sat with his head bowed and his face hidden behind a white mask while the verdict was read.
R. Kelly faces a minimum of ten years in jail and a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced on May 4, 2022.
The singer, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was one of the most well-known people accused of sexual misconduct during the #MeToo movement, which highlighted allegations that had haunted him since the early 2000s.
Kelly was charged with one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which forbids the transportation of people for the purpose of prostitution over state boundaries.
Kelly allegedly used his celebrity and magnetism to recruit victims, including some who were grabbed from crowds at his concerts with the support of members of his entourage, according to prosecutors.
Witnesses said several victims assumed Kelly would help them launch their careers, only to discover he demanded strict compliance and threatened to punish them if they failed.
Kelly has rejected allegations of sexual abuse on numerous occasions.
Kelly's claimed victims included the late singer Aaliyah, whom he married briefly and unlawfully when she was 15 in 1994.
The January 2019 Lifetime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly" contained numerous allegations against Kelly.
Kelly instilled terror in his victims if they did not fulfill his every desire, sexual and otherwise, according to several witnesses.
Kelly allegedly forced victims to obey "Rob's rules," which included calling him "Daddy" and getting permission to eat or go to the bathroom.
Kelly allegedly forced victims to create "Apology letters" to potentially exonerate him of wrongdoing, and hid the fact that he had herpes before intercourse, according to witnesses.
Sonja claimed in a statement given by her lawyer Gloria Allred, "I've been hiding from Robert Kelly in dread."
"Despite the fact that he believed he could control all of his victims, he was mistaken," Allred said of Kelly to reporters.
Kelly's lawyers tried to portray the accusers as former devotees who felt betrayed when they fell out of favor with him, and that their sex with him was consensual.
Kelly is also facing federal child pornography and obstruction charges in Chicago, as well as state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
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