After listening to testimony from 11 accusers and over 40 witnesses during the six-week trial, a jury found R. Kelly guilty on nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking the New York Daily News reports. The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for nine hours before reaching its verdict.
Kelly, who declined to take the stand and testify on his behalf at the trial, is also being charged by state prosecutors in Minnesota with engaging in prostitution with a minor and by federal prosecutors in Illinois for child pornography and obstruction.
Oronike Odeleye, the co-founder of the #MuteRKelly campaign, weighed in on the jury’s decision, the New York Times reports.
“This is a culmination of the movement of so many women who having being trying so long to have their voices heard,” she said. “We have never had full ownership of our bodies. And we’re at a moment where Black women are no longer accepting that as the price of being Black and female in America.”
The singer’s attorney expressed their disappointment in the verdict and still claimed that their client was innocent of all charges.
“Of course, we’re disappointed with the verdict. We’re even more disappointed with the prosecution for bringing this case given all the inconsistencies,” Kelly’s attorney Deveraux Cannick said. “I don’t think anyone is prepared for an outcome like this when you know the truth.”
During closing arguments, Kelly’s legal team attempted to paint the singer as a victim, despite all of the witnesses who had similar accounts of pedophilia, abduction, abuse, rape, and other forms of sexual assault.
Nadia Shihata, assistant U.S. Attorney, argued that the evidence was undeniable against Kelly and the dozens of testimonies from witnesses had to be more than coincidental.
“He was just the unluckiest guy in the world,” she said sarcastically. “He doesn’t have just one person lie about him; he has upwards of 40, apparently.”
“He’s not unlucky, ladies and gentlemen, he’s guilty,” she said.
Kelly could be sentenced to life in prison for his crimes.