On trial in New York, singer R. Kelly convicted of sex crimes

American singer R. Kelly was convicted on Monday (September 27th) of a series of sex crimes, including that of having led for years a “System” sexual exploitation of young women, including minors. The 54-year-old singer, known for his world hit I Believe I Can Fly, was also convicted by the jury in Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York, of the crime of “sex trafficking.”

The fallen R’n’B star had been on trial for more than a month, notably for extortion, sexual exploitation of a minor, kidnapping, corruption and forced labor, over a period from 1994 to 2018. This trial is considered a major milestone of the #metoo movement: this is the first time that the majority of complainants are black women and that they accuse a black artist.

Read also Man accuses singer of sexual assault at trial of singer R. Kelly

The accused, wearing a jacket and tie, did not show any 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 that they were “Disappointed with the verdict” and that they were considering appealing.

Life imprisonment incurred

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.

Robert Sylvester Kelly is accused of having perpetrated these crimes with impunity, taking advantage of his notoriety. He has always denied the facts.

Read also Trial of R. Kelly: he saw himself as a “genius” able to act with impunity, accuses an alleged victim of the singer

The World with AFP