After over a month-long federal trial in New York, disgraced R&B singer Robert “R. Kelly” Kelly, has been convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking. The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer was found guilty for his role as a ringleader of a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex. Kelly now faces decades in prison.
Kelly was first indicted in 2019, and held in custody in Illinois until he was transferred to Brooklyn for the trial. Court proceedings began on August 18, and ended on the September 24. The high profile case included testimony from 45 witnesses, and brought to light the sexual abuse endured by multiple women including the late singer Aaliyah (who was just 13 when the two first met). After nine hours of deliberation, the singer was found guilty of all nine counts of the racketeering and sex trafficking charges against him. According the The New York Times, Kelly sat sat motionless in the courtroom as his guilty verdict was read out loud, with his facial expression hidden under his mask.
Acting U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, thanked the 11 men and women who stood as Kelly’s accusers in the trial: “No one deserves what they experienced at his hands or the threats and harassment they faced in telling the truth about what happened to them. We hope that today’s verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure.”
The singer still has sexual misconduct charges to face in Illinois and Minnesota, including federal child pornography and obstruction charges in Illinois. The Illinois trial will be scheduled now that the New York proceedings have finished. The singer has been accused of sexual abuse for decades now, and previously went to trial for child pornography charges, which were dropped in 2008 due to insufficient evidence. Kelly’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 4, 2022.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, we encourage you to reach out for support: RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1 800 656 HOPE (4673) or Crisis Text Line (chat support), text “HERE” to 741-741.
If you or someone you know have been affected by domestic abuse, we encourage you to reach out: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)