Prosecutors stay on trial against R. Kelly after month of testimony | Top news
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Monday closed their sex trafficking case against R. Kelly, after a month of often troubling and raw testimony from people accusing the R&B singer of sexually abusing women and girls.
The prosecution case in Brooklyn federal court ended with the testimony of a clinical psychologist who testified on Friday.
Kelly’s attorney, Calvin Scholar, began the defense with a musical artist who said he had known the singer since about 2005, viewing him as a mentor who would allow him to “watch, learn and grow.” , and had never seen any illicit activity towards the alleged victims.
The witness, who plays as Da-Ni, also said he was never invited by Kelly to have sex with Kelly’s girlfriends.
A prosecutor, Maria Cruz Melendez, attempted in cross-examination to show that the witness was not so close to Kelly and wanted to stay on Kelly’s good side to advance her own musical career, which never materialized.
Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not guilty to one count of racketeering and eight counts of illegally transporting people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution.
Prosecutors charged Kelly, 54, with treating and attacking women and girls as early as the mid-1990s, when his music, including the 1996 Grammy-winning song, “I Believe I Can Fly,” propelled to glory.
Her alleged victims include singer Aaliyah, who was 15 when Kelly illegally married her in 1994. The marriage was later called off and Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.
Since the trial began on Aug. 18, jurors have heard testimony from dozens of women and former employees who said Kelly maintains strict control over her entourage.
Several witnesses said Kelly grew angry if people broke “Rob’s rules”, such as needing permission to go to the bathroom or talking with others, and urged accusers to write “letters to them.” ‘apologies’ to potentially absolve him of wrongdoing.
Witnesses accused Kelly of not telling them before sex that he had herpes, a sexually transmitted disease.
Defense attorneys have attempted to portray Kelly’s accusers as fans who felt helpless after being unable to capitalize on the singer’s fame.
They also wondered why the accusers and former employees hadn’t left Kelly sooner or surrendered to the police, and waited years to come forward.
Half a dozen witnesses can testify for the defense.
Kelly’s scrutiny intensified after the #MeToo movement began in late 2017, and Lifetime aired the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” in January 2019.
Kelly still faces sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota, regardless of the outcome of the Brooklyn trial.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)
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