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Attorney: R. Kelly Is the Worst Predator I've Pursued

Verdict marks the music industry's biggest conviction of MeToo era
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2021 5:24 PM CDT
This Was the Music Industry's Biggest #MeToo Conviction
In this June 13, 2008 photo, R&B singer R. Kelly leaves the Cook County Criminal Court Building in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

(Newser) – Some 13 years after he was acquitted on child pornography charges, a federal jury has found R. Kelly guilty on all counts, including sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of a child. The 54-year-old R&B star could now face decades in prison. "This is by far the highest-profile, post-#MeToo conviction involving sexual abuse that we’ve seen in the music industry," writes Joe Coscarelli at the New York Times. He notes that the impact will be heightened by the fact that the 2008 acquittal allowed Kelly's career "to keep flourishing in the years that followed." More:

  • Lawyer says he's the "worst predator" she has dealt with. Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented some of Kelly's victims, says that in her 47 years of law, Kelly is the worst sexual predator she has pursued, "for many reasons." Kelly used his celebrity to recruit vulnerable young girls to exploit, and used his business enterprise and higher-ranking employees to "isolate them, intimidate them, control them, indoctrinate them, punish them, shame them, and humiliate them," she said Monday, per CNN.

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  • The timeline. NBC looks at the timeline of Kelly's career and the allegations against him, including his illegal marriage to 15-year-old singer Aaliyah in 1994, when Kelly was 27. During the trial, witnesses said they saw Kelly abusing Aaliyah when she was 13 or 14.
  • The charges. The nine counts Kelly was found guilty on also included racketeering, NPR reports. The jury found that prosecutors had proven 12 of the 14 underlying acts involving Aaliyah and four other victims, identified as Stephanie, Jerhonda Pace, Jane, and Faith.
  • What went right. The New York Times looks at how prosecutors were able to build a stronger case than in 2008. The prosecution's case involved 11 accusers, lowering the chances of a full acquittal, and jurors accepted the accounts of witnesses. The Washington Post notes that the racketeering charge, initially seen as risky, allowed prosecutors to present more evidence to the jury than if they had focused only on individual accusers. Prosecutors described Kelly as the head of a criminal enterprise that procured young girls for him to abuse.

  • The trial. The five-week trial featured wrenching testimony from 45 witnesses and videos of Kelly engaging in sex acts that prosecutors said were not consensual, the AP reports. Accusers said they faced threats and violent punishments if they disobeyed "Rob's rules." Reuters lists five key moments from the trial.
  • Accuser can now live "free from fear." A witness identified as Sonya, who testified that Kelly trapped her in a room and sexually assaulted her after she went to his home for an interview as a radio intern, says she can now live free from fear. "I've been hiding from Robert Kelly due to fear and threats made against me, and I'm ready to start living my life free from fear and start the healing process," she said in a statement, per Insider.
  • What's next for Kelly. The singer, who's been in custody since his 2019 arrest, could face a sentence of between 10 years and life when he is sentenced on the federal charges in New York on May 4. He also faces sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
(Read more R. Kelly stories.)

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