R. Kelly won’t testify at his sex trafficking trial

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In her closing, a prosecutor instructed jurors that R. Kelly received away with sexually abusing his victims by surrounding himself with enablers he managed with an iron fist.

NEW YORK — Editor’s Note: The video above is from August 2021.

A prosecutor started closing arguments within the R. Kelly sex trafficking trial Wednesday by telling jurors that the federal government had delivered on its guarantees to show that the R&B singer had for years commanded shut associates to assist him goal, groom and exploit women, boys, and younger girls for his personal sexual gratification.

Six weeks of testimony from greater than 45 witnesses and different proof “showed he did just that,” mentioned Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes.

She mentioned Kelly received away with sexually abusing his victims by surrounding himself with enablers he managed with an iron fist.

She instructed jurors the assistants, drivers, bodyguards and others Kelly employed comprised a felony enterprise that resulted within the federal racketeering costs towards him.

“The defendant set rules, lots of them, and he demanded complete obedience,” she mentioned.

That meant “for many years what happened in the defendant’s world stayed in the defendant’s world,” she added. “But no longer.”

Then, Geddes started meticulously summarizing each key ingredient of the proof for jurors.

Before closings started, Kelly instructed U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly that he received’t take the witness stand, permitting him to keep away from the danger of a doubtlessly brutal cross-examination.

“You don’t want to testify, correct?” Donnelly requested the R&B singer. He responded: “Yes, ma’am.”

Lawyers had already mentioned Kelly was unlikely to testify in his personal behalf. Soon afterward, the protection accomplished presenting its case, setting the stage for closings to start.

The protection presentation had relied on a handful of former Kelly staff and different associates who agreed to take the stand to attempt to discredit allegations that he sexually abused girls, women and boys throughout a 30-year musical career highlighted by the 1996 smash hit “I Believe I Can Fly.”

Most of the protection witnesses mentioned they by no means noticed Kelly abuse anybody. One even mentioned Kelly was “chivalrous” to his girlfriends. Another admitted he owed Kelly for his break in music business and wished to see him beat the fees.

By distinction, prosecutors have referred to as dozens of witnesses for the reason that trial started in federal courtroom in Brooklyn on Aug. 18. They included a number of feminine and two male accusers to help allegations that Kelly used a cadre of managers, bodyguards and assistants to systematically recruit potential victims at his exhibits and at malls and fast-food eating places the place he hung out.

The accusers testified that when they had been in Kelly’s internet, he groomed them for undesirable sex and psychological torment — principally once they had been youngsters — in episodes relationship to the Nineties. Their accounts had been supported at least partly by different former Kelly staff, whose personal testimony advised they had been primarily paid off to look the opposite approach or allow the recording artist.

The 54-year-old defendant, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not responsible to racketeering costs. He’s additionally charged with that a number of violations of the Mann Act, which makes it unlawful to move anybody throughout state strains “for any immoral purpose.”

Kelly has vehemently denied the allegations, claiming that the accusers had been groupies who wished to benefit from his fame and fortune till the #MeToo motion turned them towards him.

Members of the media and the general public haven’t truly seen the jailed Kelly in particular person in the course of the trial. The decide has barred individuals in a roundabout way concerned within the case from the courtroom in what she referred to as a coronavirus precaution.

Meanwhile, a decide at a listening to Wednesday in Chicago mentioned {that a} felony case there towards Kelly will stay on maintain till the New York trial is over.

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