R. Kelly convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking


Fifty prosecution and defense witnesses took the stand during the five-week trial, including victims who were identified as “Jane Does” in Kelly’s indictments. There were 45 prosecution witnesses.

Jane Doe 1 was the singer Aaliyah, who died in 2001.

Jurors heard from multiple witnesses who were present at her marriage to Kelly on August 31, 1994, when he was 27 and she was 15. Prosecutors showed copies of the couple’s marriage license application, which listed Aaliyah’s age as 18 at the time of their wedding, as well as their marriage license and marriage certification.

Kelly’s former tour manager, Demetrius Smith, testified reluctantly that he bribed a worker at a welfare office in the Chicago area to create a welfare ID for Aaliyah.

“I made her (the welfare office worker) an offer and she took the money,” Smith testified. “I gave her $500.”

While the ID did not list Aaliyah’s date of birth, an Illinois official testified on September 15 that, generally, a person has to be at least 18 to obtain that particular type of ID.

Nathan Edmond, a minister who married the two, spoke publicly for the first time about the marriage while testifying Sept. 1 said he met the couple the day he married them.

“I didn’t think it was anybody special. I didn’t understand it at all,” Edmond testified.

Jurors also heard from a woman who identified herself only as Stephanie, who said she met Kelly at an event in Chicago in 1999 when she was 17, and that he eventually invited her to his studio.

“I remember him asking me my age,” Stephanie testified. “When I said I was 17, he said it was fine.”

Stephanie testified that Kelly sexually abused her when she was 17, and recorded them having sex. He paid for her travel to Florida to meet him on her 18th birthday and she stopped speaking with him shortly after the trip. She described fearing his angry outbursts, saying he would yell at her in public places.

A former radio intern who identified herself as Sonja testified that Kelly invited her to travel to Chicago to interview him at his studio in 2003 when she was 21 and that once she arrived, an employee put her in a room that Sonja quickly realized was “locked from the outside.” She said she was kept in the room for several days, occasionally let out to go to the bathroom and shower.

“The door was locked. I wanted to get out,” Sonja testified.

Sonja testified she lost consciousness after eating her first meal in days and saw Kelly adjusting his pants when she woke up. She testified that she believed he sexually assaulted her when she was unconscious.

“I was sexually assaulted,” Sonja testified. “There was something in me that wasn’t wanted.”

Read more about how the trial unfolded here.

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