U.S. District Choose Ann Donnelly instructs the jury in R.Kelly’s intercourse abuse trial at Brooklyn’s Federal District Court docket in a courtroom sketch in New York, U.S., September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
September 24, 2021
By Tyler Clifford and Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) -A jury contemplating whether or not R. Kelly ran an unlawful, decades-long racketeering scheme concentrating on girls and underage women for intercourse ended its first day of deliberations on Friday with out reaching a verdict on the R&B famous person.
The seven-man, five-woman jury in Brooklyn will resume deliberations on Monday, after spending greater than 3-1/2 hours behind closed doorways on Friday.
Identified for the 1996 Grammy-winning smash “I Imagine I Can Fly,” the 54-year-old Kelly had been trailed by sexual abuse accusations for a lot of his profession earlier than being charged with 9 prison counts, together with a broad racketeering cost.
Prosecutors have tried to painting Kelly as a short-tempered, violent predator who used his fame and charisma to attract girls and underage women into his orbit, the place he would topic them to bodily and sexual abuse, together with undesirable intercourse.
A number of accusers testified that Kelly sought full management over his victims, together with by demanding they abide by strict guidelines or else face punishment, and write “apology letters” designed to absolve him of blame.
A number of the alleged abuse came about at Kelly’s studios, with the assistance of others in Kelly’s entourage who turned a blind eye to the singer’s misconduct, witnesses and prosecutors have stated.
Kelly has pleaded not responsible. His attorneys have tried to painting his accusers as liars desirous to money in by denigrating the singer out of spite, as a result of their relationships didn’t work out or Kelly was not a springboard for his or her careers.
After deliberations started, jurors requested to overview a number of items of proof.
This included testimony of a girl who stated Kelly starved her of meals and water whereas conserving her in a locked room for 2 days, and sexually assaulted her after letting her out.
Such testimony was at odds with the portrayal of Kelly that the singer’s lawyer Deveraux Cannick provided in his closing argument.
Cannick stated on Thursday that Kelly handled these round him “like gold”, and the lawyer invoked civil rights chief Martin Luther King Jr in urging jurors to summon the braveness to deal with Kelly pretty.
However in her rebuttal on Friday, earlier than deliberations started, Assistant U.S. Lawyer Nadia Shihata rejected the protection suggestion that Kelly’s accusers have been “groupies” or “gold diggers.”
She additionally stated topping the music charts and touring the world didn’t give Kelly a license to interrupt the legislation.
“All through this trial you may have seen how the defendant is principally a management freak,” Shihata stated. “The defendant isn’t the sufferer right here.”
The trial started on Aug. 18. Kelly didn’t testify in his personal protection, which is his proper.
Even when he’s acquitted, Kelly nonetheless faces federal fees in Chicago on youngster pornography and obstruction, and state fees in Illinois and Minnesota.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford and Luc Cohen in New York; Enhancing by Noeleen Walder, Howard Goller and Daniel Wallis)