R. Kelly prosecutors rest after 5 weeks of harrowing testimony
During their cross-examination of witnesses, Mr. Kelly’s defense team focused on challenging the basis of the racketeering charge itself, arguing that the prosecution’s description of a broad illicit organization is wrong and that the singer was running nothing more than a music business. They also sought to persuade jurors that his accusers had consensual sex with him and then fabricated their accounts of abuse and misconduct, focusing on minor changes in certain aspects of their stories over time and on the willingness of some to interact with Mr. Kelly for years. .
The defense will aim to advance that portrayal, by portraying Mr Kelly as a generous romantic partner who has treated the women around him like family and has been blinded by their claims.
The image contrasts sharply with the one painted during the government affair, built around the accounts of five women: Jerhonda, StÃ©phanie, Faith, Sonja and a woman who testified under a pseudonym. R&B singer Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash two decades ago, and her brief illegal marriage to Mr Kelly in 1994 are also at the heart of the government’s record. The charges would generally be too old to prosecute, but the racketeering charge allows the government more flexibility.
Several witnesses have testified about Mr Kelly’s interactions with Aaliyah, including an employee who said he bribed a government employee for fake ID for her when she was 15, so that she could be married to Mr. Kelly after he came to fear that she was pregnant with his child. Last week, a witness also testified that he saw Mr Kelly commit a sexual act on Aaliyah when she was 13 or 14 years old, making her the youngest girl accused of sexually abusing Mr Kelly in the prosecution case.
Understanding the R. Kelly trial
What are the fees? Mr Kelly faces one charge of racketeering based on the sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping and forced labor, and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting anyone across borders state for the purpose of prostitution.
Some of the evidence presented by prosecutors – including a stack of letters his accusers say they forced them to write – was painstakingly put together by Mr Kelly himself as he began to prepare his own defense years before his trial . Prosecutors also presented documents regarding his marriage to Aaliyah, as well as medical records supporting the singer’s doctor’s testimony that “100% he has herpes.”
In a 2017 text message Mr Kelly sent to a woman he had had sex with since the age of 17, he told her he wanted to “cure” her and “be bonded” with her “at one million percent “. This woman, who testified for three days under a pseudonym earlier in the trial – longer than any other witness – told the jury that Mr Kelly’s rules were so copious “I would write them down to remember” and went through the singer’s many intricate instructions, which he was told to call daddy.
“Trust daddy and do whatever he says, whatever he says, without rebuttal, disrespect or rebellion,” she read aloud in a note to the jury. “Remember how I acted at the beginning, bubbly and like a child, pure and without negative intentions, and remember to stay true to who I am, humble, happy, innocent and beautiful to daddy by reminding him of his mother and her child. “