R Kelly is facing trial today in federal court in New York on a number of charges, including organized crime based on the sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor; denies everything.
R. Kelly used his fame to record the sexual abuse of children and “control them both sexually and physically,” a court has heard.
On Wednesday, the opening day of the R&B singer’s trial in New York, prosecutors called him a “predator.”
He is alleged to have insisted that his victims call him “dad” and prosecutors said he “dominated and controlled them physically, sexually and psychologically.”
Kelly, 54, faces a long-awaited trial after decades of allegations of sexual abuse by countless women, some of them very young.
The I Believe I Can Fly singer faces a number of charges, including organized crime based on the sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibited the transport of people across state lines by sex.
Assistant United States Attorney Maria Cruz Meléndez told a Brooklyn jury that Kelly used to record sex acts with minors while controlling an organized crime company on her team that was loyal to her.
She said these staff were eager to “comply with any and all wishes and demands of the defendant.”
“What brought it its success and popularity was access, access to girls, boys and young women,” he said.
The court heard that young women and girls were invited to join Kelly after the shows by distributing backstage passes.
A member of their entourage would lead them to Kelly before they were told a set of rules that they had to follow.
The rules included not talking to each other, what they should wear and how they needed Kelly’s permission before eating or going to the bathroom, prosecutors say.
Apparently they were asked to call him “dad”.
The opening came more than a decade after Kelly was acquitted in a 2008 child pornography case in Chicago.
Several female accusers – mostly referred to in court as “Jane Does” – and former cooperating associates must be called as witnesses at trial.
The three-time Grammy winner has pleaded not guilty to all charges and flatly denied wrongdoing.
The trial is expected to last between six and eight weeks and, if convicted, faces life in prison.
Prosecutors have alleged that Kelly has led a criminal enterprise to “prey on women and teenagers” for his own sexual gratification for decades.
The charges in Brooklyn concern alleged abuses against at least six women and girls.
Prosecutors say there is finally one minor among the group who contracted herpes from the singer after he knowingly exposed her to the disease.
Announcing the charges in 2019, prosecutors said: “Kelly issued rules that many of his sexual partners were required to follow, including that women and girls were to call him ‘daddy’; they were not allowed to leave their rooms to eat. ” or go to the bathroom without their permission; they were required to wear loose clothing when not accompanying Kelly to an event; and they were instructed to keep their heads down and not look at me.
“Kelly also isolated women and girls from their friends and family, and made them depend on him for their financial well-being.”
Twelve anonymous jurors, seven men and five women, and six alternates were selected for trial last week.
They will be the only members of the public with an in-person hearing of the trial, after U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly ruled that she would not allow members of the public or the media in the courtroom, due to in part to Covid-19 restrictions.
It’s a shocking fall from grace for the singer who, after traveling the world for decades, has spent the past two years in jail in Illinois and New York awaiting trial since his arrest in July 2019.
The New York case is just one part of the legal problems the singer faces.
He also pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
In all, the singer faced nearly three dozen federal charges in the United States for alleged abuse of women.
Some women claim they were abused as recently as 2018, but Kelly, who has been in custody since 2019, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges she faces.
His legal team insists that the women who accuse him are disgruntled groupies.
Kelly’s alleged abuse was the subject of the heartbreaking documentary series Surviving R Kelly, in which dozens of women spoke about their time with the singer to detail their allegations of sexual abuse against him.
The women came to accuse him of leading an “abusive cult” under the pretext of helping women advance their musical careers.
He has faced allegations similar to this several times over the past three decades, but has settled civil lawsuits and had charges dropped due to lack of probable cause in a high-profile criminal case regarding charges involving sexual images of a child. . .
Before his trial today, prosecutors said Kelly’s past legal triumphs added pressure to the new proceedings.
The trial continues.