Closing arguments in R. Kelly’s sex trafficking trial have begun, following six weeks of testimony from witnesses and accusers.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes wound down the trial on Wednesday (September 22nd), telling jurors the government had delivered on its promise to prove the singer commanded a network of people who helped him groom and exploit young women for sex.
“The defendant set rules, lots of them, and he demanded complete obedience,” she said. “For many years, what happened in the defendant’s world stayed in the defendant’s world. But no longer.”
Geddes then ran through the key pieces of evidence.
Kelly told U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly he would not be taking the witness stand before closing arguments began, after a handful of former Kelly employees and other associates testified in an effort to discredit allegations the hitmaker had sexually abused women, girls, and boys over three decades.
The five defense witnesses told the court they never saw Kelly abuse anyone.
Prosecutors called over 40 witnesses and alleged abuse victims to the stand.
Most offered up similar stories of being approached at concerts or attending parties at Kelly’s home and being flown to the singer’s concerts for his sexual gratification. Many recalled being punished by Kelly for not obeying his rules on when to eat and when to relieve themselves.
The 54-year-old defendant has pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges.
The jury members are expected to begin their deliberations today (September 23rd).
He has also been charged with violations of the Mann Act, which forbids people from transporting anyone across state lines for sex.
Kelly has vehemently denied the allegations, claiming that the accusers were groupies.