Fences begin after R. Kelly refused to testify at trial

NEW YORK (AP) – A prosecutor on Wednesday began pleading in R. Kelly’s sex trafficking trial by telling jurors the government had kept its promises to prove the R&B singer had for years ordered his relatives to l ‘help target, prepare and exploit girls, boys and young women for one’s own sexual satisfaction.

Six weeks of testimony from more than 45 witnesses and other evidence “showed that he had done just that,” US Deputy Prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes said.

She said Kelly got away with sexually abusing his victims by surrounding himself with facilitators whom he handled with an iron fist.

She told jurors that Kelly’s assistants, drivers, bodyguards and other employees constituted a criminal enterprise which resulted in the federal racketeering charges against him.

“The accused made rules, a lot of them, and he demanded total obedience,” she said.

This meant that “for many years what happened in the world of the accused stayed in the world of the accused,” she added. “But not anymore.”

Next, Geddes began to meticulously summarize each key piece of the evidence for the jurors.

Before the closures began, Kelly told U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly he would not be appearing on the witness stand, allowing her to avoid the risk of potentially brutal cross-examination.

“You don’t want to testify, do you? Donnelly asked the R&B singer. He replied, “Yes, ma’am. “

Lawyers had previously said Kelly was unlikely to testify on her own behalf. Soon after, the defense finished presenting their case, setting the stage for the start of the fencing.

The defense presentation had relied on a handful of former Kelly employees and other associates who agreed to speak out in an attempt to discredit allegations that he sexually assaulted women, girls and boys over the course of a 30-year musical career evidenced by the smash hit of 1996 “I Believe I Can Fly.”

Most defense witnesses said they never saw Kelly abuse anyone. One of them even said that Kelly was “chivalrous” with his girlfriends. Another admitted he owed Kelly for his break from the music business and wanted to see him beat the charges.

In contrast, prosecutors have called dozens of witnesses since the trial began in Brooklyn federal court on August 18. They included several female and two male accusers to substantiate allegations that Kelly used a group of managers, bodyguards and assistants to systematically recruit potential victims. at his shows and in the malls and fast food outlets where he spent time.

The accusers testified that once on Kelly’s web, he prepared them for unwanted sex and psychological torment – mostly when they were teenagers – in episodes dating from the 1990s. Their accounts were at least supported. in part by other former Kelly employees, whose own testimony suggested that they were essentially paid to look away or allow the artist to record.

The 54-year-old defendant, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not guilty to the racketeering charges. He is also charged with multiple violations of Mann Law, which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines “for immoral purposes.”

Kelly vehemently denied the allegations, saying the accusers were groupies who wanted to profit from his fame and fortune until the #MeToo movement turned them against him.

Members of the media and the public did not actually see Kelly jailed in person during the trial. The judge barred people not directly involved in the case from entering the courtroom in what she called a coronavirus precaution.

Meanwhile, a judge at a hearing in Chicago on Wednesday said a criminal case against Kelly would remain in limbo until the end of the New York trial.


Associated Press writer Michael Tarm in Chicago contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to reflect that the judge’s last name is Donnelly, not Connelly.

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