R. Kelly found guilty in sex trafficking trial

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US singer R Kelly has been found guilty of running a scheme to exploit his fame to sexually abuse women and children over two decades.

Eleven accusers, nine women and two men, took the stand over the searing six-week trial to describe sexual humiliation and violence at his hands.

After two days of deliberation, the jury found Kelly guilty on all the charges he was facing.

He is due to be sentenced on 4 May, and faces decades behind bars.

Prosecutors accused Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, of using his fame and fortune to lure in victims with promises to help their musical careers. Several of his victims testified that they were underage when he sexually abused them.

He was also found guilty of violating the Mann act, a law which bans interstate sex trafficking.

As the verdict was read out in court, Kelly sat still at his desk, according to reporters.

His facial expression was hidden by a face mask that he was required to wear due to the judge’s pandemic rules.

The verdict comes 13 years after Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges after a trial in the state of Illinois.

Unlike the convictions of other celebrities like comedian Bill Cosby and film producer Harvey Weinstein, most of the victims that helped convict Kelly were black.

Many of the allegations were first laid out in the 2019 documentary Surviving R Kelly.

Accusers were sometimes selected from his concert audiences, or were enticed to join him after being offered help with their fledgling music careers after change encounters with the singer.

But after joining his entourage, they found that they were subjected to strict rules and aggressively punished if they violated what his team had dubbed “Rob’s rules”.

Source: BBC website

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