R Kelly: prosecutors rest case after dozens testify in sex trafficking trial

Prosecutors at the R Kelly sex trafficking trial ended their case on Monday after calling dozens of witnesses over the past month, detailing the government’s sweeping allegations against the singer in lurid detail.

Several women and two men testified about how Kelly groomed them for unwanted sex and psychologically tormented them, mostly when they were teenagers in episodes dating to the 1990s. Their accounts were backed at least in part by former Kelly employees whose testimony suggested they were essentially paid to look the other way or actively enable him.

los defense will now begin calling former Kelly employees in an effort to cast doubt on some of the accusers’ accounts. The lawyers must find ways to counter testimony from accusers alleging misconduct over three decades.

A large chunk of the testimony focused on an infamous scandal involving Kelly’s youngest and most famous alleged victim: the R&B singer Aaliyah. One of the final witnesses described seeing Kelly sexually abusing Aaliyah around 1993, when Aaliyah was 13 o 14. The former backup performer told the jury Kelly sexually abused her as well when she was 15 – another in a series of accusers who say he exploited them when they were underage.

The jury heard evidence about a fraudulent marriage scheme hatched to protect Kelly after he feared he had impregnated Aaliyah. A marriage license that was put into evidence falsely listed her age as 18. Él era 27 en el momento.

Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. She died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.

The last government witness was an expert witness on abusive relationships. Dawn Hughes testified about studies showing that many abusers systematically isolate, demean, subjugate and spy on their victims as means of control – all tactics allegedly used by Kelly.

Generally speaking, it isn’t unusual for powerful people like Kelly to be surrounded by underlings who “knew about it and didn’t do anything”, Hughes said.

The 54-year-old defendant, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges accusing him of running a Chicago-based enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who helped him recruit and transport his victims. Such travel allegedly violated the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose” – the same law that sent Chuck Berry to prison in 1959.

Kelly has vehemently denied the charges, claiming the women were groupies who wanted to take advantage of his fame and fortune until the #MeToo movement turned them against him.

Members of the press and public have not seen the jailed Kelly in person since the trial began on 18 agosto. El juez, Ann Donnelly, has barred people not directly involved in the case from the courtroom in what she called a coronavirus precaution. Observers are restricted to an overflow courtroom, watching a video feed.

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