R&B superstar R. Kelly was found guilty of sex trafficking in a high-profile case that featured hours of graphic testimony and several accusers.
Kelly, who has been under accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse, faces several years in prison. He was convicted on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act.
“Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification,” acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said in a statement.
“To the victims in this case, your voices were heard, and justice was finally served. We hope that today’s verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victims,” Kasulis added.
Kelly, who is best known for his 1996 hit “I Believe I Can Fly”, pleaded not guilty to all charges. He did not take the stand in his own defense.
The prosecution focused on Kelly’s past, saying he is a serial sexual predator who abused young women, as well as underage girls and boys, for more than two decades. The state went further, saying he and his entourage led a criminal enterprise that recruited and groomed victims for sex, offering them free perks in exchange.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes accused Kelly and his entourage of using tactics from “the predator playbook”.
“It is now time to hold the defendant responsible for the pain he inflicted on each of his victims,” Geddes said in court Thursday. “It is now time for the defendant, Robert Kelly, to pay for his crimes. Convict him.”
One of the more graphic videos out of several explicit videos in evidence that was shown to the jury shows Kelly grabbing a victim by the hair and forcing her to perform oral sex on another man.
Kelly also faces charges in Illinois and Minnesota.