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R. Kelly Found Guilty Of Sex Trafficking, Racketeering

It took a federal jury in Brooklyn nine hours to decide that R. Kelly was guilty of all charges stemming from a decades-long pattern of alleged sexual abuse.

By Gina Tron
Witness Claims R. Kelly Made Women Write Blackmail Letters

A federal jury in Brooklyn has found singer R. Kelly guilty of sexually abusing dozens of women for decades.

The jury of seven men and five women needed nine hours of deliberations spread over two days following a trial held over the past several weeks.

"R. Kelly has been convicted of racketeering by a federal jury in Brooklyn," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York tweeted on Monday

Kelly was convicted on all charges he faced, including sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, racketeering and sex trafficking, National Public Radio reports.

Kelly could face up to life in prison.

During the trial, the prosecution questioned dozens of accusers and witnesses who corroborated allegations that Kelly had a long history of being an abuser. The state wrapped its case up last Monday.

Kelly's defense team called just five witnesses to the stand, including Kelly's childhood friend Larry Hood, a former Chicago police officer who lost his badge amid accusations of passing counterfeit money.

Kelly, 54, did not testify in his own defense. 

Prosecutors throughout the trial argued that Kelly sexually abused numerous females and males, some of whom were underage, over a nearly two-decade time frame. They said he led an enterprise of managers, bodyguards, and other employees who recruited the victims for his twisted sexual desires while giving them false hope that he’d help them with their entertainment careers.

Numerous women testified that Kelly kept them confined to rooms in his mansion. One former radio intern claimed that his team starved her before possibly drugging her in preparation for a sexual assault by Kelly. Jerhonda Pace testified in July that Kelly sexually abused her and that she was once held in a room covered with mirrors on the walls and ceiling for three days before she was given permission to use a bathroom. 

A good portion of the trial also focused on late pop singer Aaliyah Haughton. Prosecutors say she was 12 when she met Kelly and still a young teen when he began sexually abusing her; Haughton has been identified as "Jane Doe #1" in Kelly’s federal racketeering trial. Kelly’s former tour manager Demetrius Smith testified in August that he paid a $500 bribe to a Chicago public assistance worker for a fake ID for a 15-year-old Aaliyah so she and Kelly could marry. Chicago-area ordained minister Nathan Edmond reluctantly testified earlier this month that he married the pair and that he promised to never speak of it to anyone.

Kelly had long vehemently denied all allegations against him. He was previously accused of child pornography in Chicago in 2002, of which he was ultimately acquitted in 2008. He also faces charges of producing child pornography and destroying evidence in a separate case in Illinois, as well as a sex-related charges in Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty in those cases.

His sentencing date is scheduled for May 4, according to NPR.