R. Kelly Found Guilty in Sex Trafficking and Racketeering Trial

The musician could now spend decades in prison.
R&B singer R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building following a hearing on June 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
R&B singer R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building following a hearing on June 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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After a blockbuster trial that lasted six weeks, R. Kelly was found guilty Monday of one count of racketeering and eight counts of an anti-sex trafficking law. 

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The R&B hitmaker could now spend decades in prison. 

Kelly stood accused of running a criminal enterprise that relied on his fame and power to draw in a steady stream of girls and women, whom he then abused. During the trial in New York federal court, multiple people testified that they were among Kelly’s victims. Many painted a vivid picture of life under Kelly’s thumb, where, they alleged, they were isolated from their communities, restricted from food or using the bathroom, and made to call Kelly “Daddy.”

One witness, who said she had sexual encounters with Kelly while she was underage, also testified that she had seen Kelly perform a sex act on the singer Aaliyah when Aaliyah was just 13 or 14 years old. Kelly had married Aaliyah, who died in 2001, when she was 15.

“It is now time for the defendant, Robert Kelly, to pay for his crimes,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes said in her closing arguments to the jury, according to BuzzFeed News. “Convict him.”

The jury was made up of seven men and five women. They began deliberating on Friday afternoon. While the prosecution spent weeks building their case, Kelly’s defense team rested after just a few days.

First indicted in 2019, Kelly had pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He was also previously found not guilty of child pornography charges in Illinois in 2008.

But his legal battles are far from done: Kelly is still facing separate charges in Minnesota and Illinois.