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As prosecutors are wrapping up their case against R. Kelly in a New York courtroom this week, they played video and audiotapes they told jurors are proof that he victimized women and girls who are accusing him of sex trafficking.
Jurors listened to the recordings in a Brooklyn federal court using headphones on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. The public and the press were not able to hear or see what was on the recordings and it’s not entirely clear what exactly all of the recordings contain and it is unclear how the jurors reacted to it. However, prosecutors have described the tapes in court, saying they show Kelly ranting and threatening victims in 2008, according to the AP.
“You better not ever … take from me again or I will be in Florida and something will happen to you,” he allegedly states in one of those tapes to a victim, identified as Jane Doe, after he accused her of stealing a Rolex watch from him. “You understand what I’m telling you?”
The government is expected to rest its case on Friday, completing its part of the sex trafficking trial which has been underway since Aug. 18. The defense is expected to begin its case on Monday.
Prosecutors allege that 54-year-old Kelly abused many young women and men over nearly two decades, promising them fame and fortune while sexually abusing them. Prosecutors allege the pop star led an enterprise of managers, bodyguards, and other employees who recruited women and girls for his twisted sexual desires. Since August, a stream of accusers — both women and men — have testified about the alleged abuse.
Kelly has denied all allegations against him and his defense has described most of his accusers as groupies who only started accusing the singer of abuse following the #MeToo movement.
However, the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer was plagued with accusations about his sexual behavior long before that movement even began. Kelly was accused in Chicago in 2002 on 21 counts of child sexual assault imagery; he was ultimately acquitted in that case in 2008.
In addition to the charges he is facing in New York, Kelly is also accused of producing child pornography and destroying evidence in a separate case in Illinois.
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