NEW YORK — Prosecutors on the R. Kelly intercourse trafficking trial ended their case Monday after calling dozens of witnesses over the previous month who detailed the federal government’s sweeping allegations in opposition to the singer in lurid element.
The protection started its case later within the day by beginning to name Kelly loyalists to the witness stand in an effort to solid doubt on among the accusers’ accounts.
A New York Metropolis jury has heard a number of ladies and two males who have been in Kelly’s superstar orbit inform the panel that he groomed them for undesirable intercourse and psychological tormented them — principally once they have been youngsters — in episodes courting to the Nineties. Their accounts have been backed a minimum of partly by former Kelly workers whose personal testimony instructed they have been basically paid off to look the opposite manner or actively allow the “I Imagine I Can Fly” recording artist.
Kelly’s legal professionals should discover methods to counter testimony from accusers alleging perverse misconduct spanning three many years. Among the many troubling tableaus — his entourage locking a radio station intern in a room the place he sexually assaulted her whereas she was handed out; witnesses claiming that he gave them herpes with out disclosing he had an STD; Kelly capturing a shaming video of 1 alleged sufferer exhibiting her smearing feces on her face as punishment for breaking arbitrary guidelines meant to guard his fragile ego.
On Monday, Larry Hood — a childhood good friend who labored safety for Kelly as an off-duty Chicago police officer within the early 2000s — claimed he by no means witnessed Kelly misbehaving with underage ladies. A protection legal professional additionally requested if he noticed his good friend lock anybody in a room.
“No, sir,” Hood responded. If he noticed that, he added, “As a police officer, I’d have needed to take motion in opposition to that.”
On cross-examination, Hood admitted the police division fired him in 2007 after a responsible plea in a counterfeit cash case, although he received to maintain his pension.
A big chunk of the testimony centered on an notorious scandal involving his youngest and most well-known alleged sufferer: R&B phenom Aaliyah. One of many last witnesses described seeing Kelly sexually abusing Aaliyah round 1993, when Aaliyah was solely 13 or 14. The previous backup performer additionally informed the jury Kelly sexually abused her as effectively when she was 15 — one other in a collection of accusers who say he exploited them once they have been underage.
Jurors had beforehand heard proof a couple of fraud marriage scheme hatched to guard Kelly after he feared he had impregnated Aaliyah. A wedding license that was put into proof falsely listed her age as 18; he was 27 on the time.
Aaliyah, whose full title was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, labored with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing However A Quantity.” She died in a airplane crash in 2001 at age 22.
The final authorities witness was an knowledgeable witness on abusive relationships. Daybreak Hughes testified about research exhibiting that many abusers systematically isolate, demean, subjugate and spy on their victims as technique of management — all ways allegedly utilized by Kelly. Typically talking, it isn’t uncommon for highly effective folks like Kelly to be surrounded by underlings who “knew about it and didn’t do something,” Hughes mentioned.
The 54-year-old defendant, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not responsible to racketeering expenses accusing him of operating a Chicago-based enterprise of managers, bodyguards and different workers who helped him recruit and transport his victims. The journey violated the Mann Act, which makes it unlawful to move anybody throughout state strains “for any immoral function” — the identical regulation that despatched rock legend Chuck Berry to jail in 1959.
Kelly has vehemently denied the fees, claiming that the ladies have been groupies who wished to benefit from his fame and fortune till the #MeToo motion turned them in opposition to him.
Oddly, members of the press and public haven’t really seen the jailed Kelly in particular person for the reason that trial started on Aug. 18. U.S. District Choose Ann Donnelly has barred folks circuitously concerned within the case from the courtroom in what she referred to as a coronavirus precaution.
Observers are restricted to an overflow courtroom, leaving them to attempt to observe the case by means of a video feed.