NEW YORK (AP) – R. Kelly’s fate is now in the hands of a jury after weeks of lurid testimony at his trial for sexual misconduct.
The panel of seven men and five women began discussing extortion and sex trafficking charges against the R&B superstar on Friday afternoon and ended the day without passing a verdict.
A few hours after the deliberations, the jury sent the judge a note asking him to review a transcript of testimony and evidence on a woman who alleged Kelly sexually abused her in 2003 as a 21-year-old intern on a radio station. She testified that she was locked in a recording studio for days and drugged before the attack.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers finished their closing arguments this week. The 54-year-old singer is accused of running a Chicago-based criminal company that recruited accusers for unwanted sex and psychological distress.
The witnesses said Kelly exposed them to perverted and sadistic whims when they were a minor. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Kelly “believed that the music, fame, and fame meant that he could do what he wanted,” US assistant attorney Nadia Shihata told a federal court in Brooklyn in a fiery rebuttal of the defense’s closing argument in which Kelly has been portrayed as a victim of false accusations.
But she added, “He’s not a genius, he’s a criminal. A predator. ”She added that its alleged victims“ are not groupies or gold diggers. They are people. “
Fifty-four-year-old Kelly, perhaps best known for the 1996 smash hit “I Believe I Can Fly,” has not pleaded guilty to blackmailing abuse of women, girls and boys for more than two decades.
He is also charged with several violations of the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport someone across state lines for “immoral purposes”.
Prosecutors say their evidence shows how Kelly, with the help of some loyal members of his entourage, used the “predator game book” tactics to sexually exploit his victims.
The tactic included isolating them in hotel rooms or his recording studio, subjecting them to humiliating rules of what to call him “daddy,” and videotaping them – some were seen by the jury in the process – of them, sex with him and having other than means to control them, prosecutors said.
In his closing, defense attorney Deveraux Cannick told the jury that the testimony of several prosecutors was full of lies and that “the government made them lie”.
Cannick argued that there was no evidence that Kelly’s accusers were ever coerced into doing anything against their will. Instead, Cannick said, Kelly’s friends stayed because he pampered them with free air travel, shopping, and fancy dinners – a treatment that belied the predator label.
“He gave them a lavish lifestyle,” he said. “That’s not what a predator should do.”
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