R. Kelly trial nears end as singer’s lawyers defend against sex abuse claims By Reuters
© Reuters. R. Kelly listens to Jeffrey Meeks as he testifies in Kelly’s sex abuse case at Brooklyn’s Federal District Court. It took place in a sketch courtroom in New York on September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
By Tyler Clifford
NEW YORK (Reuters) – R. Kelly’s sex trafficking trial entered the homestretch on Tuesday, with the presiding judge forecasting that closing arguments could begin the next day and jurors could soon deliberate the R&B star’s fate.
Kelly (54), is currently on trial at Brooklyn Federal Court on allegations that he preyed upon women and girls whom he lured back to his group as early as the mid-1990s.
Robert Sylvester Kelly, the singer who is best-known for his Grammy-winning 1996 song “I Believe I Can Fly”, has pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and illegally transporting prostitutes.
Four-and-half weeks of testimony was provided by the prosecution from several witnesses, including two women who said Kelly had abused their children and those who worked for Kelly.
The prosecution has tried to portray Kelly as an immature predator who used his celebrity to lure admirers whom he later forced into unwelcome sex.
Many witnesses claim Kelly punished his victims who broke the rules. These included when they had to go to the toilet or eat.
Since Monday’s defense, Kelly has had four witnesses testify for him. This was to prove that Kelly did not abuse his victims.
A friend of Jerhonda pace, who was the first accused, may be one more witness to the trial.
Kelly will not be required to or expected testify. Kelly is not required or expected to testify. His victims include the singer Aaliyah.
Ann Donnelly, U.S. District Judge of the United States told her courtroom closing arguments might begin Wednesday following testimony and jury deliberations could start as early as Thursday.
Kelly’s lawyer Calvin Scholar was represented by Jeff Meeks. Meeks stated that Kelly never witnessed women locking themselves in their rooms, or knocking on doors, during the roughly 15 years in which he served the singer’s various roles.
Maria Cruz Melendez (federal prosecutor) countered, trying to prove that Meeks wasn’t unaware of Kelly’s conduct. She asked Meeks whether he recalls once telling federal agents that Kelly had been “relieved” to witness a girl exiting the studio.
Meeks said, “I don’t know.” Meeks said, “I did a lot.” One is enough.
Kelly had a former accountant who testified on his behalf. This said that Kelly and his girls dressed in “appropriately” for their occasion, and that Kelly didn’t raise his voice while he was there.
The prosecution also presented jurors a chart of Kelly’s management firm RSK Enterprises. It was designed like an octopus and had tentacles that reached out to those owe money. Kelly once owed eight figures in tax bills.
Kelly’s music career has stagnated despite being plagued by allegations of abuse for almost two decades. This was only after increased scrutiny during the #MeToo movement and Lifetime’s documentary “Surviving R. Kelly”, which aired in January 2019.
Kelly is currently in jail for two years. He also faces sexual-related allegations in Minnesota and Illinois.
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