Jurors have retired in New York to begin their deliberations in the sex trafficking trial against R. Kelly.
Both the prosecution and defence delivered their closing arguments following a month of testimony and cross-examination in the courtroom.
The 12-person jury, consisting of seven men and five women, began their deliberatuon on Friday afternoon (September 24). After reportedly requesting further evidence in relation to a witnesses named ‘Sonja’, the jurors concluded the first four hours of their deliberation without a verdict. They will resume their consideration of the evidence today.
Kelly is facing decades in prison if convicted of the charges, which includes a multitude of sexual abuse offences, racketeering and bribery.
In an emotive closing statement from prosecution attorney Elizabeth Geddes, she accused Kelly of using “lies, manipulation, threats and physical abuse to dominate his victims”.
She also went on to tell the jury that Kelly had pushed for an underage Aaliyah to get an abortion, citing his logic as: “No baby, no jail.”
According to Vanity Fair, Kelly’s lawyer Deveraux Cannick delivered his closing statement on Thursday (September 23), in which he appeared to compare Kelly to Martin Luther King Jr.
“Somewhere I read of the freedom assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press,” Cannick allegedly quoted from King’s ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop‘ speech. He then added: “That’s all Robert’s trying to do.”
Cannick’s statement seemed to focus on depicting the alleged victims as individuals who had taken advantage of Kelly’s money or sought out his attention.
“A lot of people watched Surviving R. Kelly, and unfortunately, a lot of people are now surviving off R. Kelly,” Cannick told the jurors.
Deliberation will resume today.
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