R&B singer R. Kelly was found guilty Monday on all counts in a high-profile sex-trafficking case by a federal jury in Brooklyn, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York said.
The verdict represents the first criminal consequence for Kelly after decades of accusations of sexual assault. In 2008, he was acquitted on 14 counts in a highly publicized child pornography case in New York.
In the current case, Kelly was charged with one count of racketeering, which encompassed 14 underlying acts including sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and sex trafficking. He was also charged with eight counts of violations of the anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.
The criminal proceedings started Aug. 18, spanned about six weeks and included testimony from more than 45 witnesses. The jury, which was made up of seven men and five women, began deliberating Friday afternoon.
Kelly now faces the possibility of decades in prison. Sentencing is set to take place on May 4. The singer also faces charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
Best known for the hit 1996 song “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case and did not take the stand in his own defense.
In this case, six people alleged the singer was a serial sexual predator who abused young women and underaged girls and boys for more than two decades.
During the trial several victims were identified as “Jane Does” in the indictments, including the singer Aaliyah, who died in 2001. Aaliyah was referred to as Jane Doe 1.
Kelly infamously married Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15 years old by misrepresenting her age as 18 on the couple’s marriage license application.
Rumors of Kelly’s pattern of abuse circulated for years before charges were brought against the singer. “Surviving R. Kelly,” a Lifetime documentary series released in 2019, along with the rise of the #MeToo movement, intensified calls for Kelly to face legal consequences.