Fallen American R&B star Robert Kelly was convicted on Monday by a New York court of a series of sex crimes, including running for years a “system” of sexual exploitation of young women, including minors.
This lawsuit is considered a major milestone in the #MeToo movement: it is the first time that the majority of the plaintiffs are black women and that they accuse a black artist.
The 54-year-old singer, known for his world hit “I Believe I Can Fly”, was also convicted by the Brooklyn Federal Court jury of the crime of “sex trafficking.”
Jacquelyn Kasulis, District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, commented on the session after the verdict was announced: “Today’s guilty verdict marks R. Kelly as a predator forever. A predator who has used those around him to trap underage girls and young women and men for decades in a network of sexual abuse, exploitation and humiliation. “
R. Kelly had been tried for more than a month, including extortion, sexual exploitation of a minor, kidnapping, corruption and forced labor, over a period from 1994 to 2018.
The ex-African-American R&B star, wearing a jacket and tie, showed no particular emotion at the statement of his guilt. Masked, he contented himself with lowering his head and closing his eyes.
One of his lawyers, Deveraux Cannick, told reporters they were “disappointed with the verdict” and were considering appealing. Before specifying: “He’s disappointed like me. You couldn’t see what we found in the investigation file, you couldn’t see all the inconsistencies.”
As is very often the case in criminal proceedings in the United States, the prison sentence will be handed down much later, in this case on May 4, 2022 for R. Kelly already in pre-trial detention. He faces life imprisonment.
During the six-week trial in Brooklyn – with relative indifference to the mainstream American media – nine women and two men testified that R. Kelly had sexually abused them, describing rape, forced drug use, imprisonment or even child pornography.
Gloria Allred, counsel for three complainants: “He used his power and his notoriety to recruit vulnerable and underage girls for the purpose of sexually abusing them. It was not about relationships lasting a few weeks, as the defense claimed. It was about sex crimes against children and adults … “
Robert Sylvester Kelly is accused of having perpetrated these crimes with impunity, taking advantage of his notoriety. He has always denied the facts.