R. Kelly Found Guilty of Sex Trafficking and Racketeering, Facing Life in Prison

R. Kelly Found Guilty of Sex Trafficking and Racketeering, Facing Life in Prison

September 27, 2021

R. Kelly was found guilty of sexual abuse and sex trafficking on Monday, September 27, and could face life in prison following his sentencing trial.

The 54-year-old rapper was convicted on all of the nine counts he was charged with, including one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, including kidnapping, bribery and sex trafficking charges.

Hollywood’s Sexual Misconduct Scandals

He was also convicted of eight counts of violations of the Mann Act, which is a sex trafficking law that prohibits any transport of “any woman or girl” across state lines for “immoral purpose.” Kelly could face between 10 years to life in prison for his crimes. His sentencing hearing is set for May 4, 2022.

The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’s fate was determined by a jury made up of seven men and five women. Deliberations began on Friday, September 24, more than one month after the trial first started.

Over the course of five weeks, the jury heard testimonies from Kelly’s alleged victims, who took the stand as “Jane Does.” The first Jane Doe represented was the late singer Aaliyah, who died in 2001.

Aaliyah’s story was told by multiple witnesses who were present at her marriage to the Illinois native in 1994. At the time he was 27 and she was 15. Prosecutors presented copies of the marriage license, in which Kelly lied and said she was 18 when they wed.

The prosecution called on 45 witnesses over the course of the trial, with many women telling their alleged stories of sexual abuse at the hands of Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly.

One victim, Jerhonda Pace, claimed that after meeting the “Bump n’ Grind” singer when she was 16 (she told him she was 19) the two became involved. During their last encounter, she alleged that Kelly became upset when she was on her phone instead of paying attention to him and forced her to perform oral sex.

Stars Who Have Spoken Out Against R. Kelly

“I went to Rob’s house and he called me a bitch,” she said. “He said I was a silly bitch. He slapped me three times and said if I lied to him again it’s not going to be an open hand next time. He choked me during an argument. I had sex with him. I had oral sex with him. I went home and confessed.”

Another witness, who called herself Stephanie, claimed that she met Kelly in 1999 when she was 17 and was invited to his studio.

“I remember him asking me my age,” she testified. “When I said I was 17, he said it was fine.” Stephanie revealed that Kelly allegedly sexually assaulted her and recorded them having sex.

Stars at Court

Monday’s verdict comes 13 years after Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges at an Illinois state trial.

However, his legal troubles didn’t stop there. In June 2019, Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 charges of sexual assault. The following month he was arrested in Chicago on federal sex crime charges.

In August 2019, Kelly was charged with two counts of prostitution with a person under 18 by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintains his innocence.

If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing and recovering and more.

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