The fallen American star is accused of having run for years a “system” of exploitation of young women and young men, including minors. For lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents three of the six complainants, this trial, the verdict of which is expected this Wednesday, June 29, should serve as an example.
Nine months ago, the trial of the singer known worldwide for his hit I believe i can fly had been analyzed, four years after the start of the #MeToo era in the United States, as an indicator of sexual crimes in the African-American community.
In their last indictment, the prosecutors of the federal court of Brooklyn claim at least 25 years of criminal imprisonment because of the “danger” that would represent R. Kelly, real name Robert Kelly, for his victims and for public opinion.
The US prosecutor’s office believes that it is “an impudent, manipulative, controlling and coercive, showing no signs of remorse or respect for the law.”
During the six-week trial last August and September, the fallen singer was portrayed by the prosecution as “criminal, predator”.
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Nine women and two men had accused him of having sexually abused them, describing rape, forced drug taking, situations of imprisonment or even child pornography.
The 55-year-old man was convicted at the end of September 2021 of all charges: extortion, sexual exploitation of a minor, kidnapping, trafficking, corruption and forced labor, over a period from 1994 to 2018.
Throughout his trial, the former African-American R&B star had remained silent, and had shown no particular emotion at the statement of his guilt, contenting himself with lowering his head and closing his eyes. . Already in detention and awaiting another federal trial in Chicago in August, R. Kelly is hoping through his lawyers for a maximum sentence in New York of 17 years in prison.
The R. Kelly “System”
This lawsuit was considered a major step in the #MeToo movement: it was the first time that the majority of plaintiffs were black women and they accused a black artist.
For Kenyette Barnes, originator of the hashtag #MuteRKelly (“Shut up R. Kelly”) in 2017 – the same year as the global #MeToo movement sparked by the downfall of all-powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – US justice gave an echo for the first time “to the blood, sweat and tears of black women” that American society did not want to see until now.
SEE ALSO – Convicted of “sex trafficking”, R. Kelly is “the worst predator that I have prosecuted”, assures the lawyer for the victims
Long before sexual violence was a subject for the media and social networks in the United States, African-American women fought to alert the authorities and public opinion. But for a part of society, “black women are neither susceptible to rape nor credible”denounced in September Mrs. Barnes, who should speak again on Wednesday.
The trial revealed the “system” of R. Kelly to attract very young women and sexually assault them, with the complicity of his entourage, as in a kind of mafia enterprise, according to the prosecution. Many victims had recounted their meeting with their idol during concerts after which they were slipped a small piece of paper with the singer’s contact details.
Drugged and raped
He would do something for their musical career, they were promised. Instead, they were doing “indoctrinate” in the middle “sordid” of R. Kelly, were forced into sexual intercourse and kept in this “system” by “coercive measures”according to the prosecution.
Six women were the main accusers, some of whom claimed to have been drugged to be raped, locked up for a few days, forced to have abortions and infected with sexually transmitted diseases.
For lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents three of the six plaintiffs, the verdict against R. Kelly – the day after the 20 years in prison pronounced by the Manhattan court against the former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell for sex trafficking of minors – must serve as an example for celebrities who use their “notoriety to prey on their fans”.