R Kelly found guilty on all counts in sex trafficking trial

© Chicago Police Department

TW: sexual abuse

R Kelly has been found guilty on all counts in his sex abuse trial. The R&B singer was standing trial in Brooklyn, New York, for racketeering and violating of the anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act. He was found guilty by a federal jury on Monday afternoon (27 September).

Forty five witnesses, 11 of whom were his alleged victims, provided testimony over the course of the six-week trial. The jury, which consisted of seven men and five women, began deliberating on Friday (24 September). R Kelly – real name Robert Sylvester Kelly – was found guilty of all charges against him. He’s facing a maximum penalty of life in prison, with his sentencing set to take place on 4 May 2022. 

Kelly, who has been in custody since his arrest in Chicago in July 2019, pleaded not guilty to all charges. He stood accused of being a serial sexual predator who exploited his fame and influence to abuse young women and underaged girls and boys for more than two decades.

Following the verdict, attorney Gloria Allred, who represented three of the alleged victims who testified in the case, claimed “justice has been done”. Taking to reporters outside the courthouse, Allred said: “I have been practicing law for 47 years. During this time I have pursued many sexual predators who have committed crimes against women and children. Of all the predators that I have pursued, however, Mr Kelly is the worst, for many reasons.”

“Because of their courage and the outstanding work of federal agents and prosecutors in this case, justice has been done. Let this be a message to other celebrities who also use their fame to prey on their fans and others who are unfortunate enough to come into contact with them: You’re also likely to face serious consequences for your criminal conduct.”

The singer still faces federal child pornography and obstruction charges in Chicago. That trial was delayed due to Covid-19, and to allow the New York trial proceed, but will now be scheduled. Elsewhere, Kelly is awaiting trial on other state charges in Minnesota and Illinois.

Help, advice and support for those affected by sexual assault, harassment and rape is available from the following organisations. In the UK, you can visit the Rape Crisis website, or call the national helpline on 0808 802 9999. In the US, you can visit the Rainn website, or call 800-656-4673.