By Tiffany Williams –
After six weeks of a federal jury trial at the United States District Court in Brooklyn, today R&B singer Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as “R. Kelly” was convicted of nine counts of a superseding indictment charging him with racketeering predicated on criminal conduct including sexual exploitation of children, forced labor and Mann Act violations involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity.
During the trial the prosecutor presented evidence that included the testimony of 45 government witnesses, including more than 10 victims, five of whom are named in the superseding indictment, testimony from employees of Kelly, text messages, video and audio recordings, photographs, phone and travel records, DNA evidence and expert witnesses.
All of the evidence presented to the jury, showed that Kelly, for nearly three decades, was the leader of a criminal enterprise that consisted of himself and an entourage of individuals who served as managers, bodyguards, accountants, drivers, personal assistants and runners for Kelly.
As the leader of the Enterprise, Kelly used his fame to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with him. Kelly identified these girls and women at concerts, and then directed members of the Enterprise to escort them backstage following his musical performances. Kelly exchanged contact information with girls and women so that he and other members of the Enterprise could arrange travel and lodging for them to visit Kelly and engage in the charged illegal sexual conduct. Kelly issued rules that many of his sexual partners were required to follow, including that the women and girls were to call him “Daddy”; they were not permitted to leave their rooms to eat or visit the bathroom without receiving his permission; they were required to wear baggy clothing when not accompanying Kelly to an event; and they were directed to keep their heads down and not look at or speak to other men.
Kelly also isolated the women and girls from their friends and family and made them dependent on him for their financial well-being. He required his victims to engage in sex with him and others, and recorded many of the sexual encounters.
In racketeering act one – bribery: the government did present evidence that Kelly bribed a state employee to create an identification card for Jane Doe #1, then 15 years old, so that Kelly could marry Jane Doe #1 because he believed she was pregnant and therefore the marriage could keep him out of jail.
In racketeering acts two, Seven and Ten – sexual exploitation of a child: the government presented evidence that showed Kelly coerced Jane Doe #2, Jane Doe #4 and Jane Doe #5 to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing video recordings. Over the course of decades, he made these recordings, and other recordings of sexually explicit conduct, using VHS video cameras, Canon camcorders, iPhones and iPads.
In racketeering acts six, eleven and thirteen – Forced Labor: the government presented evidence that showed Kelly used the threat of physical harm and physical restraint to ensure that his victims, including Jane Doe #4, Jane Doe #5 and Jane Doe #6, performed sexually at his command. As to Jane Doe #4, he slapped her, choked her and spit on her, before demanding she give him oral sex. As to Jane Doe #5, over a period of years, he spanked her, viciously assaulted her, confined her for periods of days and otherwise manipulated her, to ensure that she would perform for him sexually, including with other women and a man. As to Jane Doe #6, he forced her to give him oral sex. When he did that, there was a gun within Kelly’s reach.
In racketeering acts Five and Nine – Mann Act Violations: the government presented evidence that showed that between May 2009 and January 2010, Kelly regularly spoke with Jane Doe #4 over the telephone to arrange for Jane Doe #4 to come to his residence in Olympia Fields for the purpose of illegal sexual activity, which was illegal because Jane Doe #4 was too young to consent to sex in Illinois. Similarly, between September 2015 and October 2015, Kelly transported Jane Doe #5, who was then 17 years old, from New York City to Oakland, California for the purpose of illegal sexual activity, as she was too young to consent to sex in California.
In racketeering acts Eight, Thirteen and Fourteen – Mann Act Violations: the government presented evidence that showed in April 2015, Kelly arranged for Jane Doe #5 to fly from her home in Orlando, Florida, to Los Angeles, California, for the purpose of illegal sexual activity, which was illegal because Kelly knew he had an incurable sexually transmitted disease (“STD”) and did not inform Jane Doe #5 about the STD prior to engaging in sexual intercourse with her. In May of 2017 and again in February of 2018, Kelly arranged for Jane Doe #6 to fly from her home in San Antonio, Texas, to La Guardia Airport in Queens, New York, for the purpose of illegal sexual activity, which again was illegal because Kelly failed to disclose that he had an incurable STD and obtain Jane Doe #6’s consent to engage in sexual intercourse under those circumstances.