NEWS & ANALYSIS

R&B Star R. Kelly Found Guilty of Sex Trafficking and Racketeering


R&B superstar R. Kelly was found guilty of nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking by a federal jury Monday. 

During his sex trafficking trial, prosecutors accused the singer of exploiting his fame over 25 years to lure women and underage girls, the Daily Mail reports. 

A jury of seven men and five women reached the verdict after nine hours of deliberation and a six-week long trial. 

He faces up to 100 years in prison: 20 years for racketeering and 10 for each of the sex trafficking convictions. 

Prosecutors say Robert Sylvester Kelly, 54, ran a Chicago-based criminal enterprise for almost 30 years and used to “target, groom and exploit girls, boys and women” for unwanted sex and mental torment.” 

“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,” interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn Kasulis said. 

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,” she added. 

“I have been practicing law for 47 years,” Gloria Allred, the lawyer who represented three of Kelly’s accusers, said. “During this time I have pursued many sexual predators who have committed crimes against women and children. Of all the predators I have pursued, Mr. Kelly is the worst.” 

“He used the power of his celebrity to recruit vulnerable underage girls for the purpose of sexually abusing them,” she added. 

The guilty verdict follows 21 days of evidence, including audio clips of some of the assaults, 50 witnesses and hours of testimonies. 

Kelly was also charged with multiple violations of the Mann Act, under which it is illegal to transport anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.” 

“The defendant set rules, lots of them, and he demanded complete obedience,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes said during closing statements. “For many years what happened in the defendant’s world stayed in the defendant’s world. But no longer.”