Jurors have found R&B singer R. Kelly guilty of racketeering, including acts of bribery and sexual exploitation of a child, along with separate charges of sex trafficking.
In this federal case in the Eastern District of New York, Kelly faced a total of nine counts — one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and sex trafficking charges, and also eight additional counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law.
Kelly was found guilty of nine counts — one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act. Of the 14 underlying acts for the racketeering count, he needed to be found guilty of at least two to be convicted of that count. Jurors found prosecutors had proven all but two of the 14 underlying racketeering acts.
“Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification,” said Jacquelyn Kasulis, acting US attorney from the Eastern District of New York.
Kelly is “a predator who used his inner circle to ensnare underage girls and young men and women for decades, in a sordid web of sex abuse, exploitation and humiliation,” Kasulis added.
She said the victims were brave for coming forward and telling their stories.
“To the victims in this case, your voices were heard and justice was finally served,” Kasulis said.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented three of the six victims who testified at trial, said Kelly is the worst predator she has ever pursued.
“First, he used the power of his celebrity to recruit vulnerable underage girls for the purpose of sexually abusing them. These were not May-October relationships, which is what his defense attorney wanted the jury to believe — these were crimes against children and some adults,” Allred said.
She said the verdict was also a message to other celebrities who prey on others.
Kelly did not have any reaction to the verdict when it was read in court and, according to his attorney, he was not expecting this verdict.
Attorney Deveraux Cannick said outside of court the government “cherry-picked” evidence to support its narrative.
“You didn’t get to see what we saw in terms of the discovery. You didn’t get to see all the inconsistencies,” Cannick said. “We said in our summation that the government cherry-picked their version that they thought would support the continuation of the narrative.”
Cannick continued, “Why would he expect this verdict given all the inconsistencies that we saw?”
The jury, made up of seven men and five women, began deliberating Friday afternoon.
In all, Kelly could face decades in prison at sentencing, which is scheduled for May 4.
The verdict comes 13 years after Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was acquitted of child pornography charges at an Illinois state trial.
An attorney for Kelly said they are considering filing an appeal and are disappointed in the verdict.