So started, in Tempo’s telling, six months of repeated sexual contact with the a lot older R&B star, and escalating cases of bodily abuse and management.
Prosecutors allege it was a part of a a long time lengthy operation that leveraged Kelly’s outsized fame to focus on younger victims, groom them, abuse them, and manipulate or blackmail them to maintain them beneath his management. He faces a racketeering cost extra generally used towards mob bosses, drug cartels and the like.
“He started amassing women and girls like they have been issues, hoarding them like objects,” Assistant US Lawyer Maria Cruz Melendez mentioned in her opening statements.
Melendez advised a jury of seven males and 5 ladies in Brooklyn federal court docket on Wednesday (Thursday AEST)that Kelly, 54, used “lies, manipulation, threats and bodily abuse” to dominate his victims, and infrequently filmed their sexual encounters.
The indictment describes Kelly’s alleged dealings with six ladies and women, together with the late singer Aaliyah, who was 15 when she married Kelly.
Kelly was a “predator” who demanded absolute fealty from the numerous ladies and underage women he recruited for intercourse over twenty years, she mentioned. “This case isn’t a few celeb who likes to social gathering loads.”
However Kelly’s lawyer Nicole Clean Becker mentioned the federal government’s case had “gaps”, and that Kelly’s accusers, together with a number of whose names will not be public, have been former followers who turned on him as a result of they have been sad their relationships didn’t work out.
“They knew precisely what they have been moving into,” Becker mentioned. “The relationships Mr Kelly had with the varied Jane Does have been consenting relationships.”
Kelly, a three-time Grammy winner whose songs embrace I Consider I Can Fly and Bump N’ Grind, has pleaded not responsible to a nine-count indictment that features accusations of bribery and extortion. He has strongly denied wrongdoing.
Prosecutors will argue that Kelly, whose full title is Robert Sylvester Kelly, used an entourage of managers, bodyguards and others to recruit victims, generally at concert events.
Melendez mentioned Kelly would require victims to get his permission earlier than doing nearly something, together with going to the toilet, and blackmail them by threatening to launch self-incriminating letters he pressured them to jot down in the event that they fled.
Some feminine accusers and a minimum of one male accuser are anticipated to testify for the federal government.
The trial was delayed a number of instances by the coronavirus pandemic and is predicted to final about one month.
It’s the fruits of years of suspicions and accusations towards Kelly, many mentioned within the 2019 documentary Surviving R. Kelly, and almost 4 years after the beginning of the #MeToo period.
Kelly has been jailed for greater than two years, and will face a long time in jail if convicted.
Even when he’s acquitted, he nonetheless faces sex-related expenses in Illinois and Minnesota, the place he has additionally pleaded not responsible.
Melendez mentioned one accuser, Sonya, was sexually abused almost twenty years in the past at Kelly’s studio in Chicago, the place the 22-year-old hoped to interview him for a radio station the place she labored.
The prosecutor mentioned Sonya was locked in a room on the studio for 3 days, and misplaced consciousness quickly after being set free and fed.
Upon awakening, Sonya felt wetness between her legs, noticed Kelly fastening his pants, and realised she had been sexually assaulted, Melendez mentioned.
The six alleged victims within the indictment, 4 of whom have been underage, are recognized as Jane Does No. 1 by way of to No. 6.
Prosecutors will attempt to present that Kelly bribed an Illinois official in 1994 to acquire faux identification for Aaliyah, who’s Jane Doe No. 1 and whose marriage licence confirmed her age as 18, in order that they may marry.
In accordance with prosecutors, Kelly believed he had impregnated Aaliyah, and hoped a wedding would preserve her from having to testify towards him. Aaliyah died in a 2001 airplane crash.
Eight counts within the indictment allege violations of the federal Mann Act, which makes it against the law to move individuals throughout state traces for prostitution.
Rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry is amongst different well-known individuals convicted beneath that regulation. The actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin was acquitted of the cost.
Kelly was acquitted of kid pornography expenses at a 2008 trial in Illinois.
He final launched a studio album in 2016. Kelly’s profession stalled following the documentary and the newest expenses.
Chicago Tribune, Reuters