After weeks of testimony from the prosecution’s witnesses, R. Kelly’s lawyers begin their arguments.
After weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses called by the prosecution in the sex trafficking trial, R. Kelly’s defense are poised to begin their arguments.
The defense intends to bring former Kelly workers as witnesses in an attempt to cast doubt on some of his accusers’ evidence, which has backed up the prosecution’s broad charges.
The singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering, which accuse him of running a Chicago-based business with managers, bodyguards, and other workers who assisted him in recruiting and transporting his victims.
The Mann Act makes it illegal to transport persons across state boundaries “for any immoral purpose.”
Kelly has rejected any allegations of sexual assault, alleging that the women were just groupies trying to take advantage of his celebrity and money before the #MeToo movement.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
Several women and two men in Kelly’s celebrity orbit testified about how he groomed them for unwanted sex and psychologically abused them in instances stretching back to the 1990s, usually when they were teenagers. Former Kelly workers’ statements were supported up, at least in part, by their own evidence, which revealed they were basically paid to look the other way or actively enable him.
Kelly’s attorneys must devise strategies to refute testimony from accusers who allege a wide range of deviant behavior spanning three decades. Among the alleged scenes: Kelly’s entourage locking a radio station intern in a room where he sexually assaulted her while she was passed out; witnesses alleging that he gave them herpes without disclosing that he had an STD; Kelly filming a humiliating video of one alleged victim showing her smearing feces on her face as punishment for breaking arbitrary rules meant to protect his fragile ego.
A substantial portion of the testimony was devoted to a scandal involving his newest and most well-known claimed victim, R&B singer Aaliyah. Kelly sexually abused Aaliyah when she was 13 or 14 years old, according to one of the witnesses. Kelly sexually abused the former backup artist when she was 15 as well, adding to a long list of accusers who claim he exploited them while they were minors.
The jury had previously heard testimony regarding a deception marriage scam devised to shield the defendant. This is a condensed version of the information.