R. Kelly found guilty in sex trafficking trial
The singer faces decades behind bars
R. Kelly has been found guilty of racketeering and eight violations of an anti-sex trafficking law.
The jury in the singer's criminal trial in federal court convicted him of the crimes yesterday (September 27), following deliberations that began on Friday afternoon and lasted nine hours.
Mr. Kelly - who was found guilty of playing a leading part in a scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex crimes that lasted decades - now faces the possibility of decades in prison.
Following years of suggestions and accusations of sexual abuse and other misbehaviour, today's verdict represents the first criminal punishment.
In 2008, Mr. Kelly avoided criminal punishment after he was acquitted on 14 counts in a highly publicised child pornography case.
During the six-week trial, prosecutors provided evidence that dated back to 1991 and described in detail a complex case of abuse.
Nearly four dozen witnesses were called to testify by prosecutors, which included nine women and two men who accused Mr. Kelly of abuse or other misconduct, as well as eight of the singer's former employees.
They testified about how Mr. Kelly concealed a controlling, predator-like nature with a charming public persona.
The trial, which was the first of the Me Too-era, was seen by many as a test of the movement that aims to hold powerful men accountable for sexual misconduct and provide the necessary justice.
Mr.Kelly's lawyers looked to convince the jurors that any sexual activity involving the singer and the people accusing him was consensual, also stating that the accounts of misconduct and abuse were false.
However, despite the defence team's attempt to depict Mr. Kelly as an "altruistic romantic partner" who considered the women around him as family, the seven men and five women on the jury disagreed.
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