Prosecution Rests in R. Kelly’s Racketeering and Sex Trafficking Case
Federal prosecutors have wrapped their case against R.Kelly in Brooklyn.
Jurors heard testimony over 20 days from 45 witnesses in Kelly’s racketeering and sex trafficking case. The singer has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has denied multiple allegations that he sexually and physically abused women and young girls.
During cross-examinations, defense attorneys questioned alleged victims on why many waited years or even decades to report the alleged abuse.
The defense began introducing their own witnesses on Monday, New York Times reports. Former Chicago police officer Larry Hood, a childhood friend of Kelly, said he never witnessed Kelly’s alleged inappropriate antics with women or girls.
“As a police officer, I would have had to take action against that,” Hood said on the stand. “I never had to take any action. I was never made aware of any wrongdoing.”
Hood was aware, however, that Kelly surrounded himself with young girls like late singer Aaliyah and a group of “little Aaliyah’s little hype girls.”
“I wasn’t checking IDs at the studio,” Hood said and added that only “later in life” did he learn of Kelly’s 1994 wedding to Aaliyah when she was 14 and he was 27.
We previously reported that Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez made opening statements about R. Kelly’s sexual relationship with Aaliyah.
According to court documents obtained by XXL, Melendez told the court that in 1994, Kelly believed he impregnated Aaliyah and rushed to illegally marry her to keep her from testifying against him should questions ever arise about who the father of the child might be.
Kelly allegedly bribed a Chicago public official with $500 to acquire a fake ID for Aaliyah prior to their marriage on Aug. 31, 1994. The singer’s parents annulled the union the following February.
Per Jezebel, “Kelly’s defense lawyers will reportedly aim to feature witnesses who will testify to Kelly being a sweet boyfriend who only had consensual encounters with his romantic and sexual partners,” the outlet writes
R. Kelly is charged with one count of racketeering and eight violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting individuals across state lines for sex acts. Kelly also faces a federal trial in Chicago on child pornography and obstruction charges, and similar charges in Illinois and Minnesota.