R&B star R.Kelly is now facing the daunting reality of spending decades behind bars after being convicted of sex trafficking in federal court in New York City
After decades of evading criminal accountability for multiple claims of misbehavior with young women and children, R. Kelly, the R&B singer famed for his song “I Believe I Can Fly,” was convicted Monday in a sex trafficking trial.
On the second day of deliberations, a jury of seven men and five women convicted Kelly, 54, guilty of all nine counts, including racketeering. As the decision was announced in federal court in Brooklyn, Kelly donned a face mask under black-rimmed glasses and remained still with her eyes downcast.
For offenses such as breaking the Mann Act, an anti-sex trafficking legislation that forbids transporting anybody over state borders “for any immoral purpose,” he may face decades in jail. The sentencing date has been set for May 4th.
One of Kelly’s lawyers, Deveraux Cannick, said he was disappointed and hoped to appeal.
“I think I’m even more disappointed the government brought the case in the first place, given all the inconsistencies,” Cannick said.
During the trial, several accusers testified in graphic detail about how Kelly subjected them to strange and cruel whims while they were minors.
For years, rumors of improper connections with children tended to amuse rather than horrify the public and news media, beginning with Kelly’s unlawful marriage to R&B prodigy Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15 years old.
His albums and performance tickets continued to sell well. Even after he was arrested in 2002 and accused of filming himself sexually assaulting and urinating on a 14-year-old girl, other musicians continued to record his tracks.