R.Kelly’s harrowing sex trafficking trial has officially come to an end.
The singer has been found guilty on all counts including sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, and racketeering, NPR notes. The 54-year-old is now facing 10 years to life in prison. Kelly’s final sentence in New York is scheduled for May 4.
Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement, told MADAMENOIRE:
“This verdict was a long time coming and although it doesn’t bring automatic healing to his survivors, I hope it brings a sense of closure that can help facilitate the healing process.The real story here is about the relentless activism of Black women who refused to let rampant, open abuse and violence toward Black girls and young women fall on deaf ears.Black women were ringing the alarm long before the world knew what ‘me too’ was about.It took all of our efforts, and those of tireless journalists like Jim DeRogatis – to get many to pay attention.We have shown once again that when we can’t count on anyone else – we can count on each other.”
According to the report, the disgraced singer sat still as a court official gave the jury’s final verdict to the judge. The jury, which was compromised of seven men and five women, deliberated for more than nine hours over the last two days before reaching their decision. Prosecutors in the controversial case were able to gather a number of R.Kelly’s victims to prove their defense including the harrowing testimony of Jane Doe #4, also known as Jerhonda Pace. At the beginning of the trial in August, the 28-year-old accused the R&B icon of holding her captive at his house in Olympia Fields as he repeatedly had sex with her while she was underage. Pace alleged at one point, Kelly even physically choked her after she failed to acknowledge him while walking into the room.
“I remember him putting his hand around my neck,” she recalled at the time. “He spit in my face and told me to put my head down in shame.” Kelly allegedly forced her to perform sexual acts on him following his irate outburst.
Earlier this month, the courthouse was rocked yet again after Jane Doe #10, identified as Angela, said she walked in on the Chicago native performing oral sex on the late Aaliyah. At the time, both Angela and the star were underage. Aaliyah became a focal point in the federal case against Kelly after it was revealed that he married the R&B star in 1994. As we’ve previously reported, Kelly’s tour manager admitted to bribing a government official to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah, who was 15-years-old at the time of their suspected marriage. Officials alleged that Kelly could have been trying to marry the “Try Again” crooner because he had impregnated her and wanted to prevent himself from being criminally prosecuted for the egregious act.
Angela began touring with Kelly as a background dancer in 1992, and eventually became sexually involved with the singer all the way up until she turned 17.
Kelly, who reportedly refused to take the stand to testify in his own defense, faces charges in Minnesota where he was accused of engaging in a prostitution ring with a minor. Kelly will also face a second federal trial in Illinois for charges stemming from his 2008 child pornography case and obstruction of justice, the report adds. The singer was slammed with outstanding criminal charges in Cook County, Ill., where he was indicted by the state attorney in Feb. 2019, for aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving five victims.