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R. Kelly convicted of sex trafficking, racketeering

R. Kelly convicted of sex trafficking, racketeering
R. Kelly faces up to life in prison on sex trafficking and racketeering convictions. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- A federal jury on Monday found R&B singer R. Kelly guilty on charges he sexually assaulted women and girls for years.

The panel of seven men and five women delivered the verdict in a Brooklyn courtroom, convicting him on nine counts -- one count of racketeering, which included 12 underlying acts of sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and sex trafficking, and eight counts of violating the Mann Act sex trafficking law.

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The singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, faces 10 years to up to life in prison for the convictions.

The verdict comes five weeks after the trial opened in New York City. He also faces charges in Chicago, but both proceedings had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Kelly's attorney, Deverau Cannick, told reporters Monday that his client didn't expect to be convicted. He accused federal prosecutors of cherry-picking evidence to support their case.

"You didn't get to see what we saw in terms of the discovery. You didn't get to see all the inconsistencies," he said, according to CNN. "We said in our summation that the government cherry-picked their version that they thought would support the continuation of the narrative.

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"Why would he expect this verdict given all the inconsistencies that we saw?"

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Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis, meanwhile, welcomed the jury's decision.

"Today's guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predatory, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification," she said.

Prosecutors called multiple victims to testify during the trial, and Kasulis said she applauded "their courage in revealing in open court the painful, intimate and horrific details of their lives with him."

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"No one deserves what they experienced at his hands or the threats and harassment they faced in telling the truth about what happened to them. We hope that today's verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure," she said, according to The New York Times.

The judge scheduled Kelly's sentencing for May 4.

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