R. Kelly’s Trial is Winding Down; Singer Faces Potential Life in Prison

After dozens of witnesses from the prosecution and a handful from the defense took the stand, the trial of R. Kelly is nearing its conclusion. Jury deliberations began Friday (Sept. 24).

Kelly, who is 54 years old, is facing one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, according to The Huffington Post. The Mann Act prohibits transporting individuals for prostitution across state lines.

If convicted, he could face 10 years to life in prison.

He is charged with racketeering, the prosecution says, to prove his motives included a criminal conspiracy. Kelly went on trial in 2008 in Chicago over similar charges but was acquitted on all accounts.

“This case is about a predator,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez told the jury during opening statements in August, The Huffington Post reported. “A man who, for decades, used his fame, popularity, and network of people at his disposal to target, groom, and exploit young girls, boys, and women for his own sexual gratification.”

One witness testified that she saw Kelly sexually assaulting the famed singer, Aaliyah when she was just 13 or 14 years old. There was much more testimony from other witnesses, who, reports say, scorched the R&B singer, recalling alleged beatings and assaults, including accusations of forced abortions and transmitting incurable STDs to other victims.

For more on the trial and its proceedings, click here.

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