Protection lawyer Devereaux Cannick presents his closing arguments in R. Kelly’s intercourse abuse trial at Brooklyn’s Federal District Court docket in a courtroom sketch in New York, U.S., September 23, 2021. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
September 23, 2021
By Tyler Clifford and Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – R. Kelly’s accusers have been motivated by cash to lie about his alleged sexual abuses, a lawyer for the R&B celebrity argued on Thursday in a remaining effort to steer jurors to not convict Kelly of intercourse trafficking fees.
In his closing argument in Brooklyn federal courtroom, Kelly’s lawyer Deveraux Cannick portrayed the singer’s accusers as former followers or jilted lovers hoping to money in on his fame, whether or not by way of ebook contracts or media appearances reminiscent of in “Surviving R. Kelly,” the 2019 Lifetime documentary.
“They’re monetizing. They know what the sport is. They’re surviving off of R. Kelly,” Cannick mentioned, invoking the late civil rights chief Martin Luther King Jr as he implored jurors to summon what he referred to as the braveness to acquit the 54-year-old singer.
Cannick spoke after Assistant U.S. Lawyer Elizabeth Geddes completed her closing argument, which lasted about six hours unfold over two days.
Geddes reviewed testimony from dozens of accusers, former workers and others towards the singer, whose full identify is Robert Sylvester Kelly, together with that he videotaped his exploits and hid his herpes analysis previous to intercourse.
“It’s time to maintain the defendant accountable for the ache he inflicted on every of his victims,” Geddes concluded, repeating the identify of every accuser. “It’s now time for the defendant Robert Kelly to pay for his crimes. Convict him.”
Recognized for the 1996 Grammy-winning smash “I Consider I Can Fly,” Kelly pleaded not responsible to at least one depend of racketeering and eight counts of illegally transporting individuals throughout state traces for prostitution in a trial that started on Aug. 18.
Prosecutors have portrayed Kelly as a violent predator who used his fame and charisma and deployed individuals who labored for him to lure ladies and underage ladies into his sphere.
Kelly is without doubt one of the most outstanding individuals tried for sexual misconduct through the #MeToo motion, and has for a few years denied sexual abuse accusations.
His alleged victims embody the late singer Aaliyah, who died in a 2001 aircraft crash.
Jury deliberations might start on Friday, after U.S. District Choose Ann Donnelly instructs jurors on the legislation.
Carrying black glasses, Kelly had completely different reactions as he listened to closing arguments.
He hung his head after Geddes mentioned one affiliate had copied him on a threatening electronic mail to a sufferer, however later leaned ahead and centered intensely on Cannick as his lawyer described his accusers’ testimony as “identical to butter, fluid.”
Cannick accused prosecutors of attempting to show all the pieces Kelly did into against the law, when in actual fact he handled them “like gold” and took them on buying sprees that price greater than automobiles.
He dismissed Jerhonda Tempo, the primary accuser to testify towards Kelly, as a “groupie, stalker extraordinaire,” and mentioned Kelly’s use of nondisclosure agreements was frequent within the leisure trade as a result of many individuals are targets.
Cannick additionally invoked the civil rights motion and King’s 1968 assassination to attempt to persuade jurors to carry prosecutors accountable for failing to show Kelly’s guilt.
“I advised you about Dr. King and the individuals of braveness for a purpose,” Cannick mentioned. “Getting a conviction of R. Kelly is a giant deal, however an even bigger deal is equity.”
He urged jurors to make use of their frequent sense. “Someone’s life is at stake right here,” he mentioned.
Kelly didn’t testify in his personal protection, which may have uncovered him to days of robust questioning from prosecutors.
He faces separate prison fees in federal courtroom in Chicago, and state fees in Illinois and Minnesota.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford and Luc Cohen in New York; Enhancing by Howard Goller)