American R&B superstar R. Kelly has been convicted of leading a decades-long sex crime ring after two days of deliberations in the United States.
The 54-year-old singer whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly has been found guilty of all charges in a sex trafficking trial.
A New York jury of seven men and five women found the I Believe I Can Fly singer guilty on all nine charges, including racketeering in a verdict announced Monday.
The charges were based on an argument that the entourage of managers and aides who helped the singer meet girls — and keep them obedient and quiet — amounted to a criminal enterprise.
Several accusers testified in lurid detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.
Moreover, R Kelly’s accusers testified without using their real names to protect their privacy and prevent possible harassment by the singer’s fans.
Assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez argued that Kelly was a serial abuser who “maintained control over these victims using every trick in the predator handbook”.
Earlier, the singer has been jailed without bail since 2019. The trial was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and Kelly’s last-minute shake-up of his legal team.
On the work front, the three-time Grammy winner has sold over 75 million records globally, making him one of the most commercially successful R&B musicians ever.