R Kelly now faces 10 years to life in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking.
Written by faithmueni on September 29, 2021
R Kelly was found guilty on racketeering and sex trafficking charges on Monday afternoon (27 September), with many people on social media questioning why it took two decades for justice to be served.
His racketeering charge was predicated on criminal conduct including sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor and Mann Act violations involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity.
A documentary that first saw multiple accusations of sexual assault against Kelly emerged and the artist pleaded not guilty on the accusations and denied any wrongdoing.
Kelly’s confession comes nearly three decades after him and the late Aaliyah were alleged to have been married in an illegal ceremony where Kelly was 27 and Aaliyah was 15. Kelly served as executive producer on Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album, ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,’ and had previously denied rumors that he and his then-protégé had a sexual relationship.
Jeronda Pace, one of the six main accusers in the trial, was the first to testify about the relationships she had with Kelly when she was 16. She said Kelly physically abused her multiple times for breaking his ‘rules,’ including not acknowledging him when he entered a room. ‘That’s when he slapped me and he choked me until I passed out,’ Pace said, ‘When I woke up, I was on the floor.’
Kitti Jones, a former girlfriend of Kelly who separated with him in 2013, said on Tuesday she was ‘disgusted’ at the amount of evidence! ‘I kept my time with him and some of the abuse as a secret from family and friends, so I wasn’t aware of the long line of other people that had experienced similar things,’ she told GMB. ‘Just to hear how he had evolved over time… hearing news stories…it really did disgust me.’
Jones encouraged women with similar experiences to speak up.’ There’s not an expiration date on when a person should come forward. All truths deserve a platform. Create your own if you don’t have one. If it takes a year, a week, 10 years, as long as it’s your truth, no matter when you’re ready to tell it, tell it.’
R Kelly’s defense lawyer Deveraux Cannick has said his client “was not anticipating this verdict” after a jury found the musician guilty on all charges at his trial for racketeering and sex trafficking.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Cannick told reporters that Kelly was “disappointed” and “not anticipating” the guilty verdict when it was delivered.
He said: “As I said earlier, of course Mr Kelly is disappointed. He was not anticipating this verdict because based on the evidence why should he anticipate this verdict.
“You saw witness after witness giving three, four, five different versions as to what they said happened here. The government cherry picked the version that they thought would be a continuation of the narrative that was first put out by Cheryl Mack and Surviving R Kelly.”
Kelly’s lawyers had previously attempted to dismiss claims by prosecutors that involved “Jane Doe #1” due to her “unfortunate passing on 25 August 2001”, citing that “she is legally unavailable.”Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash on 25 August 2001 at the age of 22.
Fans of Aaliyah have been reacting to the news on social media with one fan saying “justice” had finally arrived for the late singer. Another tweeted: “Finally justice for Aaliyah and all of R Kelly’s victims.”
The report further claimed that Kelly and Aaliyah had married on 31 August 1994, with Aaliyah declaring herself 18 years old on the pair’s marriage certificate. Aaliyah and her parents had the marriage annulled shortly after the ceremony.
After severing professional ties with Kelly in 1995, Aaliyah went on to have a successful music career, but always shut down questions about her former association with Kelly.
Kelly now faces 10 years to life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for 4 May 2022.