Warning: This article contains references to alleged sexual assault and abuse.
Following the singer’s decision not to testify in court, the closing arguments for R Kelly's abuse trial are under way in New York.
Claims of racketeering and sexually abusing women, girls, and boys during the course of his 30-year-career are strongly denied by Kelly. In front of few witnesses, Kelly, 54, went on record to say he will not testify at his own trial, eluding the witness box and cross-examination by lawyers.
It is claimed in the closing statements of the prosecution that the government had proven Kelly had told those around him to target, groom and exploit girls, boys, and young women for his own sexual gratification. US attorney Elizabeth Geddes said 45 witnesses and their six-weeks of testimonies, as well as other evidence, “showed he did just that”.
Geddes furthered that the singer ruled his enablers with an iron fist, granting him opportunities to abuse his victims. Ms Geddes said a criminal enterprise had been made up by his assistants, drivers, bodyguards, and others employed by Kelly, leading to charges of federal racketeering against the R&B singer.
“The defendant set rules, lots of them, and he demanded complete obedience,” she said, adding that meant “for many years, what happened in the defendant's world stayed in the defendant's world - but no longer”.
A lawyer for the singer is also expected to present a closing argument on his behalf. Tuesday saw a defence witness take the stand with artist Da-Ni telling jurors claiming he had known Kelly since 2005 and has never seen illicit activity by the singer towards the alleged victims. Da-Ni said he has shadowed the singer in the studio and at concerts, in order to “observe, learn and become”. Similar claims have been made by fellow defence witnesses, leading to lawyers painting the alleged victims as star-struck fans whose relationships with Kelly did not work out.
Sky News reports that the prosecution hit back with claims of Kelly giving a 17-year-old girl herpes “on purpose”, and sexually abusing a teenage boy looking to get into the music industry. The singer has also been accused in court of marrying Aaliyah when she was just 15, with a former manager of hers allegedly obtaining a fake ID to make the wedding happen.
The trial of singer, R Kelly is due to continue.