R. Kelly was found guilty of all nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking by a federal jury on Monday during his sex trafficking trial where prosecutors accused the R&B singer of exploiting his stardom over a quarter-century to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex.
A jury of seven men and five women reached the verdict after nine hours of deliberation and a six-week long trial featuring lurid testimony.
He faces up to 100 years in prison – 20 years for racketeering, 10 for each of the sex trafficking convictions. Sentencing is expected to take place on May 4, 2022.
The jury began deliberating federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges against the superstar on Friday in Brooklyn, after prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their closing arguments.
Prosecutors say Robert Sylvester Kelly, 54, ran a Chicago-based criminal enterprise for nearly three decades and that he used to ‘target, groom and exploit girls, boys and women’ for unwanted sex and mental torment.
The witnesses said Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage. He has denied any wrongdoing.
R. Kelly (pictured in 2019) was found guilty of all nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking by a federal jury on Monday during his sex trafficking trial where prosecutors accused the R&B singer of exploiting his stardom over a quarter-century to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex
Kelly’s (pictured in court on Sept. 27 alongside his lawyers Calvin Scholar and Thomas Farinella) guilty verdict follows 21 days of evidence including 50 witnesses and hours of searing testimony featuring accusations of rape, druggings, imprisonment and child pornography
What was R. Kelly on trial for in New York?
R. Kelly stood trial Brooklyn federal court after he was accused of being the ringleader of a sex ring involving women and underage girls and boys.
The charges were first brought in a five-count superseding indictment in Brooklyn federal court in July 2019.
In March 2020, he was slapped with additional charges upgrading the case to a nine-count indictment.
The charges relate to allegations involving six alleged victims – five women named as Jane Does in the indictment and the singer Aaliyah. These charges are:
ONE COUNT OF RACKETEERING – GUILTY
The racketeering charge includes 14 underlying acts including: one act of bribery, three acts of sexual exploitation of a child, one act of kidnapping, three acts of forced labor and six acts of violating the Mann Act.
Racketeering charges are used where there is an ‘enterprise’, mob or mafia running organized crime operations.
In this case, Kelly is accused of running a racketeering ‘enterprise’ for two decades made up of his ‘inner circle’ of managers, bodyguards and other employees who would help him recruit women, girls and boys for him to sexually exploit and traffic them around the US.
To convict Kelly on the racketeering charge, jurors had to find him guilty of at least two of the 14 acts.
EIGHT COUNTS OF VIOLATING THE MANN ACT – GUILTY
The Mann Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to traffic people across state lines for prostitution or illegal sexual activity.
Four of these charges relate to an incident involving Jane Doe #5 in 2015 while the other four involve Jane Doe #6 in separate incidents in May 2017 and February 2018.
Three of these charges involve Kelly allegedly exposing the two women to herpes without informing them.
Jurors began the day on Monday by sending the judge a note asking for transcripts of testimony by two former Kelly employees and for a legal clarification.
The guilty verdict follows 21 days of evidence including 50 witnesses and hours of searing testimony.
The charges were based on an argument that the entourage of managers and aides who helped the singer meet girls – and keep them obedient and quiet – amounted to a criminal enterprise.
To convict Kelly on racketeering, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years, jurors had to find him guilty of at least two of 14 ‘predicate acts’ — the crimes elemental to the wider pattern of illegal wrongdoing.
The acts presented during disturbing testimony included bribery, kidnapping, forced labor rape, druggings, imprisonment and child pornography.
He was also charged with multiple violations of the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines ‘for any immoral purpose.’
Kelly lawyer Deveraux Cannick said he was disappointed by the verdict.
‘I think I’m even more disappointed the government brought the case in the first place given all the inconsistencies,’ Cannick said.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors argued that Kelly’s accusers were ‘indoctrinated’ into his world, groomed for sex and kept in line by ‘coercive means of control’ including isolation and cruel disciplinarily measures.
They argued that Kelly, with the help of members of his entourage, used tactics from ‘the predator playbook’ to sexually exploit his victims.
‘The defendant set rules, lots of them, and he demanded complete obedience,’ Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes said during closing statements Wednesday. That meant ‘for many years what happened in the defendant’s world stayed in the defendant´s world. But no longer.’
Many of his accusers shared stories echoing that tone, saying they met the singer at concerts or mall performances, and were handed slips of paper with Kelly’s contact by his entourage.
Several said they were told he could help them achieve careers in the music industry.
The singer did not testify in his own defense during the trial, likely to avoid a damaging cross-examination.
The defense, however, argued that his accusers lied in their testimonies and that Kelly was a ‘sex symbol’ and ‘playboy’ who was being attacked by scorned exes and money-hungry fans.
Defense attorney Deveraux Cannick told the jury there was no evidence Kelly’s accusers were ever forced to do anything against their will.
He also noted that the accusers — also known as Kelly’s girlfriends — maintained a relationship with him because he spoiled them with travel, shopping sprees and five-star dining and other luxuries.
‘He gave them a lavish lifestyle,’ he said. ‘That’s not what a predator is supposed to do.’
Kelly’s trial centered around six women: Jerhonda, Stephanie, Faith, Sonja and a woman who testified under a pseudonym, along with the R&B star Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001.
Attorney Gloria Allred addresses the media following R. Kelly’s guilty verdict on Sept. 27, 2021
Attorney Deveraux Cannick (center), representing R&B star R. Kelly, arrives at Brooklyn Federal Court House on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, as the jury resumed deliberations in Kelly’s trial
Prosecutors against R. Kelly arrive at the Brooklyn Federal Court House on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021
Kelly’s (pictured in 2019) trial centered around six women: Jerhonda, Stephanie, Faith, Sonja and a woman who testified under a pseudonym, along with the R&B star Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001
Meet the women at the center of Kelly’s racketeering and sex trafficking indictment
Aaliyah is pictured at age 15 back in 1994. The world-famous musician died in a plane crash in 2001
Aaliyah Haughton (Jane Doe #1)
Jane Doe #1 in Kelly’s racketeering indictment has been identified as late singer Aaliyah.
Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, ‘Age Ain´t Nothing But A Number.’
Kelly married Aaliyah when she was just 15 in a 10-minute ceremony held inside a Chicago hotel room.
Pastor Nathan Edmond testified that he was recruited to marry Kelly, who was aged 27 at the time, after he was shown a falsified document that stated Aaliyah was 18.
Late last month, Kelly’s former tour manager, Demetrius Smith, testified to the same court that he bribed a government worker with $500 to obtain Aaliyah’s fake ID so that Kelly could marry her.
During the trial, a witness also recounted how she walked in on ‘Robert and Aaliyah in a sexual situation.’
According to the testimony, Kelly was kneeling before the teenage singer and his head was between her legs. The witness said she then abruptly shut the door and never spoke to Kelly about what she allegedly witnessed.
Aaliyah was about 13 years old at the time of the alleged encounter. The singer was killed in a plane crash in 2001 when she was 22 years old.
Stephanie (Jane Doe #2)
Kelly allegedly met Jane Doe #2, only identified as Stephanie, in 1999 when she was 16 years old after a member of his staff approached her at a fast food restaurant in Chicago.
The singer reportedly filmed them having sex multiple times, creating child pornography.
Stephanie also described being told to call Kelly ‘Daddy’ and ordered not to speak to other men when with him.
Sonja (Jane Doe #3)
Sonja, met Kelly outside of an Illinois mall in 2003 or 2004 while she was interning at a radio station.
She claimed the star locked her in a studio for days without food and water before sexually assaulting her when she was unconscious.
Sonja says after the alleged assault she was made to sign a NDA and that Kelly’s associates threatened her to stay quiet about what happened in the studio.
Jerhonda Pace (Jane Doe #4) a 16-year-old virgin at the time, had a six-month long relationship with Kelly beginning in May 2009
Jerhonda Pace (Jane Doe #4)
Pace, a 16-year-old virgin at the time, had a six-month long relationship with Kelly beginning in May 2009.
She alleged that Kelly forced her to go three days without using the bathroom and demanded she dress like a Girl Scout and wear her hair in pigtails during sex.
He reportedly took videos and photos of her engaging in sex with himself and others. He would also slap and choke her, as well as isolate her in rooms alone when she ‘disobyed’ him.
Pace claims Kelly told her that she and her family would suffer if she did not perform sexual acts on him.
Azriel Clary (Jane Doe #5)
Clary moved in with Kelly at his Trump Tower residence when she was just 17.
Prosecutors say Kelly had sex with her in April, May, September and October of 2015 when she was underage.
Clary claimed she suffered through a five-year relationship with the R&B singer and he forced her to have an abortion as part of his controlling behavior.
She alleged that the singer regularly checked her cellphone to make sure she did not gossip to friends about their relationship.
She claimed Kelly ‘chastised’ her for disobedience, including by spanking her hard enough to leave bruises and tear her skin.
Clary had infamously accused her parents Alice and Angelo Clary of pimping her out to the singer in a CBS interview in March 2019.
Faith (Jane Doe #6)
Kelly met Jane Doe #6, identified only as Faith, in May 2017 when she was 19 after allegedly having an assistant arrange for her to attend his concert in New York.
He is accused of showing up at her hotel room and having sex with her without a condom and failing to tell her he had herpes.
They also allegedly had sexual encounters in January and February 2018.
Prosecutors called 45 witnesses to the stand since the trial began in federal court in Brooklyn on August 18, though their testimony is not part of the charges.
They included several female and two male accusers to back up allegations that Kelly used a cadre of managers, bodyguards and assistants to systematically recruit potential victims at his shows, malls and fast-food restaurants where he hung out.
The accusers testified that once they were in Kelly’s orbit, he groomed them for unwanted sex and psychological torment – mostly when they were teenagers – in episodes dating to the 1990s.
The accusers’ searing accounts were supported at least in part by other former Kelly employees whose own testimony suggested they were essentially paid off to look the other way or enable the recording artist.
Audio and other recordings were also shared in the courtroom. The prosecution says the footage showed his violent threats to his victims where he can be heard telling one woman that he will ‘f*** her up’ if she ‘lie[s]’ to him’ and another that he will come to her home state to make ‘something happen to [her]’ if she ever ‘takes from [him] again’.
The prosecutors said the tapes demonstrate his pattern of violently threatening his victims.
The former star singer is captured on another recording berating a woman – Jane Doe – from Florida he accused of stealing a Rolex watch from him, the court filing said.
‘You better not ever… take from me again or I will be in Florida and something will happen to you,’ he said. ‘You understand what I’m telling you?’
Prosecutors had planned to call the Florida woman as a witness but decided against it after she ‘started to have panic attacks and appeared to have an emotional breakdown’ while listening to the tape in preparation for her testimony, according to the filing.
The defendant bragged about having ‘cameras everywhere’ in his Chicago studio and other locations he used to keep an eye on his victims, it added.
The singer’s accusers were finally able to testify against him last month after their hush-money NDAs, which paid up to $1.5million each in exchange for their silence, were overturned by a Brooklyn judge.
Defense attorney Deveraux Cannick (pictured outside the Brooklyn Federal Court House on Sept. 24) argued that Kelly’s accusers lied in their testimonies and that the singer was a ‘sex symbol’ and ‘playboy’ who was being attacked by scorned exes and money-hungry fans
Many of his accusers shared stories echoing that tone, saying they met the singer at concerts or mall performances, and were handed slips of paper with Kelly’s contact by his entourage (Pictured: Kelly sitting with his lawyers Deveraux Cannick, Calvin Scholar and Thomas Farinella as the jury deliberates on Sept. 27)
R. Kelly is mocked online after Celebrity Net Worth estimated his assets are $2M in the red
The site cited the R&B superstar telling a judge last year that he wasn’t a flight risk as he owed $1.9 million in back taxes, as reported by TMZ.
A number of Twitter users took to the social media format to point out the 54-year-old singer’s financial issues.
‘Yall…. Google R Kelly’s net worth & come back. RT if you got more money than him,’ tweeted @Drebae_.
Another person under the handle @olivia_brianna0 had a GIF of Steve Carell winking.
‘Hey, if you were feeling broke today just know that R. Kelly’s net worth is NEGATIVE 2 million dollars,’ the tweet read. ‘The devil works hard but karma works harder.’
A number of Twitter users took to the social media format to point out the 54-year-old singer’s financial issues
A user under the handle @raisinbrandi_ read, ‘Was having a not so great day until i found out that my net worth is more than R. Kelly’s. feeling rich today.’
One user shared a GIF of Dennis Rodman making a series of gestures with the caption, ‘R.Kelly explaining how he’s gonna pay his lawyers even though his net worth is negative $2 million.’
The report also caught the attention of musical artists 42 Dugg and EST Gee, who were seen reacting to the news with surprise in a clip on 42 Dugg’s social media reposted by My Mixtapez.
Prosecutors say Kelly suppressed allegations against him for years by pressuring accusers into signing non-disclosure agreements in exchange for cash settlements. The NDA settlements were overseen by Susan E. Loggans, a personal-injury attorney.
Prosecutors in Kelly’s trial argued that NDAs should not keep victims from speaking out and referred to four other federal cases, including a ruling against Bill Cosby in 2016 when he sued one of his victims Andrea Constand for speaking with prosecutors.
A Brooklyn judge agreed and overturned the NDAs for Kelly’s accusers allowing two of his alleged victims to testify against him, reported The New Yorker.
One victim, called Jane Doe No 4, was the first witness to take the stand on August 18 and said Kelly allegedly began making sexual contact with her in 2009 when she was 16 and he was in his early 40s.
Loggans helped Jane Doe 4 reach a $1.5million settlement agreement with Kelly’s attorneys, in exchange for an NDA.
The other alleged victim, Jane Doe No. 11, told the court she had a consensual sexual relationship with Kelly in 2001, as an adult, and that he knowingly gave her herpes.
She reached a cash settlement with Kelly in 2004 in exchange for the NDA.
The defendant, Kelly, pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges.
He’s also charged with that multiple violations of the Mann Act, an interstate anti-sex trafficking law which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines ‘for any immoral purpose.’
Kelly had also been accused of knowingly spreading herpes to several of his victims, which is a crime in some states.
Despite decades of sexual misconduct accusations, the New York case is only the second to result in a criminal trial. He was previously acquitted of a child pornography charge.
Kelly also faces separate criminal charges in federal court in Chicago, and state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
He maintains his innocence, vehemently denying the allegations, claiming that the accusers were groupies who wanted to take advantage of his fame and fortune until the #MeToo movement turned them against him.
The case, delayed over a year by the pandemic, is seen as landmark for the #MeToo movement as it is the first major sex abuse trial where the majority of accusers are Black women.
Although most of his accusers were female, at least one male — testifying under the pseudonym Louis — took the stand during Kelly’s racketeering trial.
Louis, speaking on August 30, alleged that Kelly had a woman hidden under a boxing ring at his house ready to perform sexual acts on him.
He told the Brooklyn federal courtroom he was 17 when Kelly slipped him his phone number while the teenager was working the night shift at a McDonald’s drive-thru in suburban Chicago, near the R&B artist’s home.
After he and his parents attended a party at Kelly’s home, the singer told him ‘maybe it would be best sometime if I came to the party by myself,’ Louis told the court.
At one point, Louis said, he met Kelly at the star’s home and they proceeded to the detached garage, which had a boxing ring and a gym.
John Doe ‘Louis’ testifies during R. Kelly’s sex abuse trial at Brooklyn’s Federal District Court in a courtroom sketch. He said he had met the R&B singer when he was 17, and was the first male to accuse him of sexual abuse in court on Monday, Aug. 30
Louis alleged that Kelly had a boxing ring at his home in suburban Chicago (pictured) under which he kept a woman who would emerge to perform oral sex on him at his behest
R. Kelly’s lawyer compares singer to Martin Luther King during closing arguments
R. Kelly’s lawyer compared the singer to Martin Luther King, claiming that both men have fought to uphold the Constitution, before quoting King’s famous ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ speech during closing arguments in the R&B star’s sex-trafficking trial Thursday.
Kelly’s attorney Deveraux Cannick started off by telling the jury the singer is fighting to hold the government to account the same way Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the New York Post reported.
Cannick said King led the civil rights movement in an effort to make the government ‘be true to what’s on paper’ and added ‘That’s all Robert is trying to do.’
R. Kelly listens as federal prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes concludes her closing arguments on Thursday
‘This is a great country. Our Constitution is most sacred,’ Cannick said. ‘However, without people of good will, of a sense of fairness and courage, our Constitution would be nothing but hollow words.’
Quoting the civil rights activist’s ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ speech, Cannick told the jury the case is not just about the the accusations against the singer but about injustice in the United States, the New York Times reported.
Cannick compared the backlash King faced during the civil rights to what the jurors were facing in coming to a decision that would clear Kelly of all charges.
‘See, unlike Dr. King and those who were like-minded, you don’t have to worry about atrocities. You just have to be courageous and fair,’ he told the jury.
Cannick also claimed that prosecutors encouraged witnesses to lie on the stand, and pushed a false narrative, the Post reported.
‘He didn’t have to recruit women,’ Cannick said. ‘That’s the narrative they’re perpetuating.’
‘He asked me what I was willing to do for music,’ the witness said, describing the singer asking if he had ‘fantasies’ before performing oral sex on him.
He also described an episode of nonconsensual sex involving Louis and another person, saying Kelly ‘snapped his fingers’ before ‘a young lady came out from under the (boxing) ring.’
‘She crawled over to him’ before performing oral sex on both Kelly and Louis, the court heard.
‘It was uncomfortable,’ Louis said, describing another instance when he passed out from drinking at a party and woke up alone with the defendant, unsure whether they’d had a sexual encounter.
Louis, who met Kelly in 2006, said the singer told him to ‘keep it between me and him’ saying ‘we family now, we brothers.’
He said Kelly requested Louis call him ‘Daddy’ – as multiple women have said the singer demanded – and would routinely film their sexual encounters.
Louis is not among the alleged victims identified in the indictment against Kelly, which charges him with racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and forced labor between 1994 and 2018.
His testimony came during the third week of the six-week long trial as part of a slate of witnesses providing additional evidence beyond that from the girls and women listed in the indictment.
Prosecutors presented searing testimony from accusers to paint a picture of more than two decades of physical, sexual and emotional abuse by Kelly.
The 54-year-old denied all charges and faces between 10 years and life in prison if convicted on all counts.
A woman who went only by ‘Stephanie’ testified that she was 17 during her six-month relationship in 1999 with the then 32-year-old Kelly.
She testified about remembering a conversation with the R&B artist and two others when he said he preferred ‘young girls’ and questioned why ‘people make such a big deal of it.’
‘Look at Jerry Lee Lewis,’ she said, quoting Kelly, now 54, as saying, referring to the influential rock and roll pioneer who controversially married his 13-year-old second cousin in the 1950s.
She described sex with Kelly as ‘humiliating,’ describing in lurid detail his demands, and claiming he routinely filmed their sexual encounters.
‘He was one of two ways: nice and charming, jovial. Or he was controlling, intimidating, he could put the fear of God in me,’ Stephanie said. ‘He humiliated me, he degraded me, he scared me.’
He once forced her to perform oral sex on him in a vehicle with others in the car, she said, and sometimes left her naked and alone in rooms for hours.
‘He could put the fear of God in me very quickly,’ she said, saying she performed sex acts because ‘I didn’t feel like I had a choice,’ saying she’d suffered past abuse both at home and by a former boss. She also said she feared what the singer would do with their sex tapes.
Around the time she turned 18, Stephanie said she decided to stop seeing Kelly: ‘I felt used and humiliated and degraded.’
‘I just didn’t want to be abused anymore.’
Many accusations of sex-related misconduct were discussed in the 2019 Lifetime documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’
Several witnesses have testified that Kelly demanded strict obedience from those around him, with Stephanie and other accusers saying he required that they call him ‘Daddy.’
His alleged exploitation of male and female employees has also come into question. Earlier, Tom Arnold, who worked at one of Kelly’s Chicago studios, said he eventually quit his job as studio manager because of the singer’s system for docking employee pay over such slights.
Other testimony alleged Kelly had exploited both his male and female employees. Arnold, who worked at one of Kelly’s Chicago studios, said he eventually quit his job as studio manager because of the singer’s system for docking employee pay over rule-breaking
A woman who only went by ‘Stephanie’ said on Aug. 24 that she was 17 during her six-month relationship in 1999 with the then 32-year-old Kelly. She claimed the singer had strict rules for her behavior and once compared himself to Jerry Lee Lewis
Kelly is accused of being the leader of a sex ring involving women and underage girls and boys.
The studio manager testified that Kelly had a strict system of fining employees for rule-breaking, with several workers losing out on money because someone ate the singer’s donuts.
Arnold, a Kelly employee since 1988, worked at the notorious Chocolate Factory since 2004 but the last straw came during what was a ‘very last-minute’ trip to Disney World in 2011.
He was told to book a tour guide for Kelly and some female guests. There was no one available and they had to book a male tour guide.
This went against Kelly’s rules, Arnold said, that prevented his girlfriends from being around other men – to the point where they couldn’t look at them in the eye if they were in the same area.
‘It needed to be a woman,’ Arnold said on the stand in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Stephanie reiterated these rules during her testimony, mentioning that at the dinner where Kelly compared himself to Jerry Lee Lewis, they were supposed to be joined by the rap duo Boo & Gotti.
She said that she was not allowed to speak to either of them.
‘I wasn’t meant to speak to any men except for Mr. Kelly,’ the 39-year-old said.
When Kelly and his girlfriends arrived at Disney World, the singer got off the tour bus, saw the tour guide and immediately canceled the trip. He then fined Arnold $1,500, his entire paycheck for the week.
Arnold quit soon after.
Kelly, known for the Grammy-winning song ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ has pleaded not guilty to charges that he ran a decades-long racketeering scheme in which he abused six women and girls, including Jane and the late singer Aaliyah.
He’s vehemently denied the charges, claiming that the women were groupies who wanted to take advantage of his fame and fortune.
Additionally, Kelly is charged in a bribery scheme after he paid a $500 bribe in 1994 in order to get breakout singer Aaliyah, who was 15, a fake ID so he could marry her. Kelly allegedly feared that he had gotten the teen pregnant.
Timeline of R. Kelly’s downfall from R&B superstar to ‘sexual predator’
August 1994: At age 27, R. Kelly marries 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah D. Haughton. The couple weds in a secret ceremony arranged by Kelly at a hotel in Chicago. The marriage is annulled months later because of Aaliyah’s age. Aaliyah dies in a plane crash seven years later at age 22.
February 1997: Tiffany Hawkins files a complaint against Kelly alleging intentional sexual battery and sexual harassment while she was a minor. The lawsuit is reportedly settled for $250,000 the following January.
August 2001: Tracy Sampson files a lawsuit against Kelly, alleging their sex was illegal under Illinois law because he was in ‘a position of authority’ over her. The case was reportedly settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
February 2002: The Chicago Sun-Times reported that it received a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor. The paper reported Chicago police began investigating allegations about Kelly and the same girl three years earlier. At the time, the girl and her parents denies she was having sex with Kelly.
June 2002: Kelly is indicted in Chicago on child pornography charges stemming from the sex tape. He pleads not guilty and is released on $750,000 bail.
January 2003: Kelly is arrested at a Florida hotel on additional child pornography charges after investigators said they found photos of him having sex with a girl. Charges are later dropped after the judge ruled police didn´t have a warrant to search Kelly’s house.
September 2005: Kelly’s wife Andrea Kelly asks for an order of protection from her husband, accusing the singer of hitting her when she said she wanted a divorce. The couple confirm they have divorced in 2009.
February 2006: Kelly’s brother, Carey Kelly, says his brother offered him $50,000 and a record deal to say he was the person on the sex video.
May 2008: Kelly’s child pornography trial begins. He is acquitted on all counts the next month after less than a full day of deliberations.
July 2017: BuzzFeed reports on parents’ claims that Kelly brainwashed their daughters and was keeping them in an abusive ‘cult.’ One woman says she was with Kelly willingly. Following the BuzzFeed report, activists launched the #MuteRKelly movement, calling for boycotts of his music.
April 2018: The Time’s Up campaign, devoted to helping women in the aftermath of sexual abuse, joins the #MuteRKelly social media campaign and pushes for further investigation into Kelly’s behavior, which had come under closer scrutiny over the previous year as women came forward accusing him of sexual coercion and physical abuse. Kelly´s camp responds: ‘We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.’
May 2018: Spotify cuts R. Kelly’s music from its playlists, citing its policy on hate content and hateful conduct. Shortly after, Apple and Pandora also stop promoting his music. Kelly’s team pushes back, noting other artists on Spotify had been accused or convicted of crimes.
The same month Faith Rodgers, 20, files a lawsuit accusing R. Kelly of sexual battery, mental and verbal abuse, and knowingly inflicting her with herpes during a yearlong relationship.
January 2019: Lifetime airs the documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ which revisited old allegations against him and brought new ones into the spotlight. The series followed the BBC’s ‘R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes,’ released the previous year, that alleged the singer was holding women against their will.
Lady Gaga apologizes for her 2013 duet with Kelly, saying she intended to remove the song, ‘Do What U Want (With My Body),’ from streaming services.
Faith Rogers says Kelly had written a letter the previous October to one of her lawyers, threatening to reveal embarrassing details of her sexual history if she didn’t drop her May 2018 lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse.
Multiple media outlets reports Kelly and his label, Sony subsidiary RCA Records, part ways. Lady Gaga and Celine Dion remove their duets with Kelly from streaming services, and French rock band Phoenix apologizes for collaborating with Kelly in 2013. Kelly continues to deny all allegations of sexual misconduct.
February 2019: Attorney Michael Avenatti says he gave Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of Kelly having sex with an underage girl, and that it is not the same evidence used in Kelly’s 2008 trial.
Kelly is arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. Kelly’s attorney enters not guilty pleas on the singer’s behalf. Hours later, Kelly posts bail and is released from jail in Chicago.
March 2019: CBS airs interview in which Kelly vehemently denied the sexual abuse charges against him. Later, authorities in Cook County take Kelly into custody after he tells a judge he couldn´t pay $161,000 in back child support he owed his children’s mother.
May 2019: Kelly is charged with 11 new sex-related counts in Chicago. They involve one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.
July 2019: Kelly is indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago on charges including child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice. A separate indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York included charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child. He is again arrested in Chicago.
A federal judge orders Kelly held in jail without bond after a prosecutor warned he would pose an extreme danger to young girls if set free.
August 2019: Kelly pleads not guilty to federal charges accusing him of sexually abusing women and girls who attended his concerts, as his lawyers continue to label the alleged victims disgruntled ‘groupies.’
Kelly is charged in Minnesota with prostitution and solicitation related to an allegation that he invited a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room in 2001 and paid her $200 to dance naked with him.
October 2019: Kelly is denied bail in his New York City sex abuse case after a judge agreed with prosecutors that freeing him from jail would create a risk of him fleeing or tampering with witnesses.
December 2019: Kelly is charged by federal prosecutors with paying a bribe in exchange for a ‘fraudulent identification document’ for an unidentified female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah. He later pleads not guilty.
March 2020: Kelly pleads not guilty in Chicago to an updated federal indictment that included child pornography charges and allegations involving a new accuser, while prosecutors say more charges alleging yet another victim were upcoming.
August 2020: Federal prosecutors announce charges against three men accused of threatening and intimidating women who have accused R&B singer Kelly of abuse, including one man suspected of setting fire to a vehicle in Florida.
Kelly’s manager is arrested in California on charges that he threatened a shooting at a Manhattan theater two years ago, forcing an evacuation and the cancellation of the screening of a documentary addressing allegations that the singer had sexually abused women and girls.
July 2021: Federal prosecutors in Kelly´s sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an underage boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming trial to hear those claims.
August 2021: Kelly’s long-anticipated federal trial begins in New York with opening statements on August 18.
September 2021: After a six-week long trial, the jury find Kelly guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking.
Why R. Kelly’s illegal marriage to singer Aaliyah was at the center of his racketeering case nearly three decades later
R. Kelly illegal marriage to R&B singer Aaliyah was presented by the prosecution as a criminal act underlying the racketeering charge against the singer.
The marriage — which took place in a 10-minute ceremony held inside a Chicago hotel when Aaliyah was just 15 — was figured prominently in the prosecution’s closing arguments last week, the New York Times reported.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes argued that Kelly’s ‘sexual abuse’ of Aaliyah was ‘part of the defendant’s pattern of racketeering.’
Earlier this month, Pastor Nathan Edmond, who conducted the 1994 nuptials, testified via video link at Kelly’s sex abuse trial.
Edmond alleged that he was recruited to marry Kelly, who was aged 27 at the time, after he was shown a falsified document that stated Aaliyah was 18.
Pastor Nathan Edmond, who conducted the 1994 nuptials, testified on Sept. 1 via video link at Kelly’s sex abuse trial which is currently being held at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn.
R. Kelly is pictured with Aaliyah in the mid-1990s. They married in August 1994, when Kelly was 27 and Aaliyah was 15. The marriage was annulled by her parents in 1995.
‘I didn’t know it was anyone special,’ Edmond stated on September 1. ‘You couldn’t see her whole face because her hair was over half of her face.’
Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, ‘Age Ain´t Nothing But A Number.’
Late last month, Kelly’s former tour manager, Demetrius Smith, testified to the same court that he bribed a government worker with $500 to obtain Aaliyah’s fake ID so that Kelly could marry her.
He reportedly feared that he had gotten Aaliyah pregnant, which would out him as having had sex with an underage girl.
Prosecutors say Kelly wanted to use the marriage to shield himself from criminal charges related to having sex with a minor and to prevent her from testifying against him.
The marriage was annulled in 1995 by Aaliyah’s parents, who did not know about the wedding before it occurred. She tragically died in a plane crash six years later at the age of 22.
Aaliyah, who released the album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, just three months before she illegally wed Kelly, did not tell her parents about the union
Pastor Edmond told the court on September 1 that he performed the ceremony at Sheraton Gateway Suites near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
He claimed Kelly and Aaliyah wore matching sweatsuits, and that they both had one leg of their sweatpants rolled up to the knee.
Edmond’s testimony was the first time he publicly spoke about the ceremony.
He stated that Kelly had asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement before he conducted the nuptials, but he declined.
‘I kind of chuckled… I said it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. It should have been more airtight,’ Edmond stated.
Despite refusing to sign the NDA, Edmond says he never spoke to the media because he gave Kelly his ‘word’ that he would not.
After their secret, low-key wedding, Kelly and Aaliyah denied rumors that they had tied the knot.
There were also whispers that Aaliyah was expecting Kelly’s baby, with one writer telling VIBE magazine in 1994: ‘I’ve been hearing about Robert [Kelly] and Aaliyah for a while — that she was pregnant. Or that she was coming and going in and out of his house.’
Meanwhile, a former live-in girlfriend of Kelly’s last month testified that the singer told her that he only married Aaliyah so that she could get an abortion.
Aaliyah never confirmed the pregnancy. She went on to have a glittering career as an actress and singer before her untimely death in 2001.
Maria Cruz Melendez, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the court during opening statements at Kelly’s trial last month: ‘Aaliyah met the defendant in approximately 1992, when she was about twelve years old. Aaliyah had a gift. She was a talented singer, and people thought that she could make it far in the industry, so the defendant [Kelly] began to produce and write music for Aaliyah when she was still a child.
‘Shortly after he began working with her, the defendant began to engage in sexual activity with her. And for years while Aaliyah was a minor, too young to even consent to sex, he continued to engage in sexual activity with her that lasted several years.’
Back in 2019, Kelly’s lawyer, Steven Greenberg, claimed his client had ‘no idea’ Aaliyah was underage at the time of their marriage.
Prosecutors allege that Kelly trafficked women and girls across state lines. He is facing a maximum of life behind bars. He is pictured in 2019
R Kelly is pictured listening to evidence on Sept. 1. He denies charges of racketeering
During the trial, the court also heard testimony from another alleged victim of Kelly’s who claimed that the singer kept a gun by his side while he berated her before forcing her to give him oral sex.
‘He had a weapon, so I wasn´t going to step out of line,’ the woman said while recounting the 2018 episode.
She said that at the time she spotted Kelly with a gun, he demanded to know, ‘How many men have you seen naked?’ He also instructed her to act ‘excited like a puppy’ and added: ‘I still have a lot to teach you.’
She testified that she saw Kelly on multiple occasions.
Their last encounter came inside a New York City hotel suite, where she resisted having sex with him. She said he responded by warning her not to defy him, saying, ‘I’m a f–ing legend.’
Kelly has repeatedly denied accusations that he preyed on victims during a 30-year career. His lawyers have portrayed his accusers as groupies who are lying about their relationships with him.
The trial has so far featured a steady stream of accusers claiming Kelly began sexually degrading them when they were still in their teens. They said he used his stardom to lure them into an insular world where he watched their every move and doled out perverse punishments, spanking them and isolating them in hotel rooms if they broke a vow to never speak about him to anyone else.
Kelly’s personal physician has also testified, saying he treated him for herpes for several years.
Many of the sex-related misconduct allegations were discussed in the 2019 Lifetime documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’