Saturday, September 25, 2021

Prayer Up For R. Kelly As Jury Deliberates


As the trial still continues for R. Kelly, members and writers of the Wrap-Up Magazine would like to send out its prayers to the singer has his life depend on a few votes. Here is a look at the key moments as jury deliberates.

The jury has retired in R. Kelly's sex trafficking trial in New York, after a month of testimony regarding the star's alleged sexual abuse of men, women and underage girls.

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The 54-year-old is facing one charge of racketeering - which positions him as the head of a criminal enterprise that preyed on young women - and eight counts of trafficking girls and women across state lines for prostitution.

Once one of the world's biggest pop stars, Mr Kelly was initially arrested on these charges in July 2019, but his trial was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and scheduling issues with separate cases he faces in other states.

In their closing arguments, prosecutors painted Mr Kelly as a predator who destroyed the lives of people around him.

"He used lies, manipulation, threats and physical abuse to dominate his victims," said assistant US attorney Elizabeth Geddes, adding that his immense wealth and fame allowed him to "hide in plain sight".

Mr Kelly's lawyers sought to attack the credibility of the witnesses who accused him of sexual and physical abuse, saying their stories were manufactured or exaggerated, and casting them as opportunists cashing in on his fame.

"They're monetizing. They know what the game is. They're surviving off of R. Kelly," Deveraux Cannick told the jury.

Mr Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not guilty on all counts but refused the opportunity to testify in his defense. If convicted, he faces between 10 years in prison and a life sentence. Here are the key moments from the trial, many of which readers may find upsetting.

Mr Kelly is not charged with rape or assault, but prosecutors have been allowed to present evidence of potential crimes related to the racketeering charge, regardless of when they occurred.

As such, they have called more than half a dozen witnesses who said they were abused by Mr Kelly while they were underage.

Both male and female, they described being approached by the star or one of his associates after a concert, in a shopping mall, or in a McDonald's, and being slipped a phone number. Often, Mr Kelly would offer to mentor their music career, they alleged, in return for sexual favors.

Several witnesses claimed Kelly kept them in a constant state of fear, demanding they follow his stringent rules,and ordering them to call him "Daddy". Those who disobeyed were punished, sometimes with degrading sexual acts, they claimed. Two women accused the star of rape.

Mr Kelly's defense portrayed the women as "groupies" and jilted lovers, who were seeking revenge after falling out of favor with the star.

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