Jury Begins Deliberations In R Kelly’s Sex Trafficking And Racketeering Trial
The American singer is accused of running a Chicago-based trafficking ring that recruited his accusers for non-consensual sex and mental torment.
Prosecutors and defence lawyers concluded their closing arguments last week. Now the 12-strong jury will begin deliberating on the charges of sex trafficking and racketeering bought against the 54-year-old singer.
In addition to being accused of running a trafficking ring, R Kelly is also charged with multiple violating of the Mann Act, the federal law which criminalises the transportation of “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.”
Plaintiffs say R Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage. They say they believe the fame and celebrity of R Kelly enabled him to do whatever he wanted. Assistant US attorney Nadia Shihata added that the singer’s alleged victims “aren’t groupies or gold diggers, they’re human beings.”
The prosecution claims R Kelly deliberately gave a 17-year-old girl herpes and would subject his victims to degrading rules. He allegedly forced them to call him “Daddy” and filmed them having sexual intercourse as a means of control.
R Kelly has denied any wrongdoing. His defence attorney Deveraux Cannick told the jury that testimony by several accusers was full of lies. “He gave them a lavish lifestyle,” Cannick said. “That’s not what a predator is supposed to do.”