The day is here! A jury in Brooklyn is deciding Robert Kelly's fate in his sex trafficking/racketeering trial. The 54-year-old singer pleaded not guilty to the crimes. Deliberations started today (September 24). Prosecutors painted R. Kelly as a predator who destroyed many lives. On the flip side, the defense team questioned the credibility of the witnesses who accused him of sexual and physical abuse, saying their stories were "manufactured or exaggerated, and casting them as opportunists cashing in on his fame."Key moments from the trial:
- More than half a dozen witnesses testified against R. Kelly and said they were abused by the singer when they were underaged. Males and females told stories of meeting Kelly, one of his associates after a concert, the infamous McDonalds, or simply giving the singer's contact information to aspiring stars. They all alleged the singer made promises for their singing career in exchange for sexual favors.
- One witness alleged the singer choked her until she lost consciousness, another was pressured into having an abortion, and romantic partners claim the singer knowingly gave them herpes.
- The most notable witness was the Aaliyah ones. A former assistant for Kelly said he helped the singer marry Aaliyah when she was 15, and Kelly was 27 at the time. The marriage ultimately was annulled a year after it took place. Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.
- Two women accused the "Bump N Grind" singer of rape. Multiple witnesses said they were filmed in "humiliating sexual situations." BBC points out; some victims were forced to write letters defending Kelly and possibly lying for him. One witness said, "He wanted us to include letters saying that we had stolen money from him, that we had stolen watches from him, that [family members had molested us], that we had been abused and neglected by family members, and so forth."