After around five weeks with 45 testimonies, the prosecution in court in New York has completed its plea against the former pop superstar R. Kelly (54). The four defenders of the musician then took up their pleadings yesterday. According to US media reports, they announced that they would summon around six witnesses. A statement from Kelly himself was not initially planned.
Alleged sexual exploitation and kidnapping
The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer is accused of sexual exploitation of minors, kidnapping and bribery, among other things. At the center of the indictment are six women, at least three of whom are said to have been minors at the time of the crime. If convicted on all counts, Kelly faces a prison sentence of ten years to life.
Since August 18, the public prosecutor’s office had presented the allegations against the musician in detail with the help of witnesses, including eleven alleged victims. The defenders had tried again and again to portray the alleged victims as jealous fans who got angry with the singer after he had ignored them.
Kelly denies all allegations
Kelly, who has been in jail since his arrest in the summer of 2019, has repeatedly denied all allegations before the start of the trial and accused his critics of a character assassination campaign. According to trial observers, he is said to have followed the events calmly and often without expression in court.
The first allegations against the musician, born in Chicago in 1967 as Robert Sylvester Kelly, became known about 25 years ago. In 2008 he was on trial for possession of pictures of serious child sexual abuse – and was acquitted.
Further proceedings are already waiting for Kelly
The process is – after cases like those of film producer Harvey Weinstein and comedian Bill Cosby – the next in the USA and worldwide much noticed legal review of the “#MeToo” era. Regardless of the outcome of the New York trial, the court will continue: The singer will have to answer in other trials in Illinois and Minnesota on similar charges.