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A prosecutor in the US yesterday described the sex abuse claims against R&B star R Kelly, stating that the long-anticipated trial which is now underway was ‘about a predator’ who used his fame to entice girls, boys, and young women before dominating and controlling them physically, sexually, and psychologically.
The assistant US attorney Maria Cruz Melendez told the Brooklyn jury as she explained the evidence to be revealed at his federal trial; ‘This case is not about a celebrity who likes to party a lot, this case is about a predator’.
She said he invited children and women to join him after shows by distributing backstage passes. Once he had them alone, said the lawyer, he ‘dominated and controlled them physically, sexually and psychologically’.
The prosecutor said Kelly would often record sex acts with minors as he controlled a racketeering enterprise of individuals who were loyal and devoted to him, eager to ‘fulfil each and every one of the defendant’s wishes and demands’.
‘What his success and popularity brought him was access, access to girls, boys and young women,‘ Ms Melendez said.
A lawyer for Kelly was expected to deliver an opening statement after Melendez completed hers.
The openings came more than a decade after Kelly was acquitted in a 2008 child pornography case in Chicago. It was a reprieve that allowed his music career to continue until the #MeToo era caught up with him, emboldening alleged victims to come forward.
Africa Today News, New York can confirm that the women’s stories got wide exposure with the TV documentary Surviving R Kelly. The series explored how an entourage of supporters protected Kelly and silenced his victims for decades, foreshadowing a federal racketeering conspiracy case that put him in jail in 2019.
Prosecutors in Brooklyn have lined up multiple female accusers – mostly referred to in court as “Jane Does” – and former associates of the rapper, who have never spoken publicly before about their experiences with him.
They are expected to offer testimony about how Kelly’s managers, bodyguards, and other employees helped him recruit women, girls, and boys for sexual exploitation.
Defence lawyers have countered by saying Kelly’s alleged victims were groupies who turned up at his shows and made it known they ‘were dying to be with him’. The women only started accusing him of abuse years later, once public sentiment shifted against him, they said.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK