R Kelly has been found guilty in his federal racketeering and sex trafficking trial in New York after six weeks of testimony regarding sexual abuse.
After 50 witnesses were heard from and after prosecutors argued that the disgraced R&B singer had been working for over 20 years to recruit girls and young women for sexual exploitation—including the creation of porn—a 12-person jury came to the conclusion Monday afternoon and found him guilty of all nine counts of the racketeering and sex trafficking charges against him.
The charges Kelly included one count of racketeering based on 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor, and eight violations of the sex-trafficking statute, the Mann Act. U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly handed the case to the jury around 1:40 p.m. Friday, with the seven men and five women announced to have reached the verdict around 3 p.m. Monday.
Kelly had been accused of sexually abusing more than 20 people, with claims from the trial dating back to the ‘90s. Earlier this month, one woman who accused Kelly of having sexual intercourse with her when she was 14 or 15 said she walked in on the singer performing oral sex on Aaliyah when she was a teen.
Kelly sat “motionless” in reaction to the news, with his facial expression “hidden by a mask,” the New York Times reported. The jury’s verdict came 13 years after Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges during a state trial in Illinois.
“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 M. Kasulis said in a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. “A predator who used his inner circle to ensnare underage teenage girls, and young women and men, for decades, in a sordid web of sex abuse, exploitation and degradation.”
Kelly is scheduled to be sentenced on May 4, 2022 and is facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years all the way up to life in prison. The singer is also facing charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
Following the verdict, Kelly posted a message to Facebook in which he thanked his fans for their support.
“To all my fans and supporters I love you all and thank you for all the support,” the message read. “Today’s verdict was disappointing and I will continue to prove my innocence and fight for my freedom.”