Singer R. Kelly convicted of sex crimes
Steph Deschamps / September 28, 2021
The fallen American R&B star, Robert Kelly, was convicted Monday by a New York court of a series of sex crimes, including that of having directed for years a system of sexual exploitation of young women, including minors.
This trial is considered a major step in the #MeToo movement: it is the first time that the majority of the complainants are black women and that they accuse a black artist.
The 54-year-old singer, known for his worldwide hit I Believe I Can Fly, was also found guilty by the jury in Brooklyn federal court of the crime of sex trafficking.
Jacquelyn Kasulis, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, commented after the verdict was announced: Today's guilty verdict forever marks R. Kelly as a predator. A predator who used those around him to entrap underage girls and young women and men for decades in a web of sexual abuse, exploitation and humiliation.
R. Kelly had been on trial for more than a month for extortion, sexual exploitation of a minor, kidnapping, bribery and forced labor, among other charges, over a period from 1994 to 2018.
The former African-American R&B star, wearing a jacket and tie, did not show any particular emotion at the statement of his guilt. Masked, he simply bowed his head and closed his eyes.
One of his lawyers, Deveraux Cannick, told the press that they were disappointed with the verdict and that they were considering an appeal. He said: He's disappointed like me. You couldn't see what we found in the investigation file, you couldn't see all the inconsistencies.
As it is very often the case in the criminal procedure in the United States, the sentence of imprisonment will be given much later, in this case on May 4, 2022 for R. Kelly already in provisional detention. He faces life in prison.
During the six weeks of the trial in Brooklyn - in a relative indifference of the big American media - nine women and two men declared to the bar that R. Kelly had abused them sexually, describing rapes, forced drug taking, situations of imprisonment or even facts of child pornography.
Gloria Allred, lawyer for three complainants: He used his power and fame to recruit vulnerable, underage girls for the purpose of sexually abusing them. These were not relationships of a few weeks' duration, as the defense has sought to assert. These were sex crimes against children and adults.
Robert Sylvester Kelly is accused of having perpetrated these crimes with impunity, taking advantage of his notoriety. He always denied the facts.