UPDATED: 3:30 p.m. ET, Sept. 27
Originally published: Sept. 5
A jury on Monday found R. Kelly guilty on all counts in his sex trafficking trial in which he was accused of abusing multiple underage boys and girls as well as women over the course of more than three decades.
The jury took about nine hours to reach its decision.
The disgraced singer, born Robert Kelly, was convicted of racketeering and eight counts of an anti-sex trafficking law that could send him to prison for much of the rest of his natural life.
#MeToo founder Tarana Burke told iOne Digital in an exclusive statement that the verdict served as a vindication of sorts for Black women and girls.
“This verdict was a long time coming and although it doesn’t bring automatic healing to his survivors, I hope it brings a sense of closure that can help facilitate the healing process. The real story here is about the relentless activism of Black women who refused to let rampant, open abuse and violence toward Black girls and young women fall on deaf ears,” Burke said. “Black women were ringing the alarm long before the world knew what ‘me too’ was about.”
Burke made sure to also credit the Chicago Sun-Times journalist whose persistent news coverage about Kelly eventually led to the indictments and prosecution that sealed the guilty verdict.
“It took all of our efforts, and those of tireless journalists like Jim DeRogatis – to get many to pay attention,” Burke added. “We have shown once again that when we can’t count on anyone else – we can count on each other.”
The response to the guilty verdict across social media was consensus celebratory.
The Grammy Award-winning, 59-year-old R&B singer who’s been in jail since his 2019 indictment entered the trial with a reputation of exploiting young women, having sex with minors and keeping women locked in his house without food or water.
The trial started on Aug. 18 in Brooklyn, New York, with no media presence allowed in the courtroom. Below we’ve summed up each day in timeline form to make it easier for you to catch up.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.
The R. Kelly Trail Timeline:
September 20: Federal prosecutors rest their case agains R. Kelly. Over the past 20 days jurors have heard testimony from 45 witnesses, 11 of which were alleged victims. Kelly’s defense team will began it presentation of witnesses today.
September 14: U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly has allowed prosecutors to incorporate audio and video evidence of Kelly verbally and physically assaulting his accusers. Prosecutors initially wrote a letter to the judge in order to get the motion approved.
September 9: A former radio station intern accused Kelly of drugging and sexually assaulting her at his Chicago studio in 2003 when she was 21-years-old. She testified that one of Kelly’s workers gave her an explicit threat about any potential retaliation and made her sign a non-disclosure agreement, the New York Daily News reported.
“I was extremely confused. I didn’t know where I was at,” the woman, only identified in court as Sonja, testified under oath. “My underwear were at the end of the couch.” She added that there was “wet stuff between my legs and on my thighs.”
She added: “It made me feel like something happened to me. I know my body. I believe I was touched sexually.”
September 3: A woman testified that R. Kelly paid her $200,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming Kelly gave her an STD. She met the singer when she was 27 and they began a sexual relationship, but Kelly never disclosed he had herpes.
September 1: An unidentified woman testified that R. Kelly kept a gun on him to intimidate her into having a sexual relationship. The woman said she met Kelly when she was 19 and he gave her an STD. When she filed a lawsuit against Kelly for failing to disclose an STD, he threatened to release nude photos of her on the internet.
August 31: An unidentified man testified that when 17-years-old R. Kelly lured him to his Chicago home with promises of helping his rap music career. He said Kelly gave him oral sex and that they continued a secret relationship for the next 10 years. He is the first man publicly accusing Kelly of sexual abuse.
August 26: A woman testified that when she was 17-years old R. Kelly lured her into have unwanted sex by claiming he could help her struggling music career. She also recalled a dinner when Kelly compared himself to Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock and roll legend who married his 13-year-old cousin.
August 25: An unidentified woman (Jane Doe), now 23, testified the R. Kelly made her write fake blackmail letters to protect him in a trial if he was ever charged with sexual abuse. She also said Kelly started grooming and exploiting her in 2015 when she was 17-years-old.
August 24: An unidentified woman (Jane Doe) testified that when she was a 17-year-old high school student R. Kelly lured her into his home by offering her a singing audition, then forced her to have sex. She also claimed Kelly slapped her, made her smear feces on her face, and gave her an STD.
August 23: An unidentified woman (Jane Doe) testified that when she was 17-years-old R. Kelly sexually assaulted her on his tour bus and hotel rooms. She claimed Kelly purposely gave her an STD.
August 20: Ex-employee Anthony Navarro testified that there were girls who would stay at Kelly’s house for long periods and they were not allowed to eat or leave. He also said he never witnessed R. Kelly sexually abuse any victims.
Aug. 19: Jerhonda Pace testified that when she was 16-years-old R. Kelly would make her wear pigtails and dress up like a girl scout during their sexual encounters.
Aug. 18: R. Kelly’s First Day of Trial. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly ruled that the jurors selected for the trial would be the only members of the public allowed in the courtroom. No media allowed. Judge Donelly also snaps at R. Kelly’s lawyer for tweeting in court.