© Reuters. Protection lawyer Devereaux Cannick presents his closing arguments in R. Kelly’s intercourse abuse trial at Brooklyn’s Federal District Courtroom in a courtroom sketch in New York, U.S., September 23, 2021. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
By Tyler Clifford and Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – R. Kelly’s accusers had been motivated by cash to lie about his alleged sexual abuses, a lawyer for the R&B celebrity argued on Thursday in a last effort to steer jurors to not convict Kelly of intercourse trafficking prices.
In his closing argument in Brooklyn federal court docket, Kelly’s lawyer Deveraux Cannick portrayed the singer’s accusers as former followers or jilted lovers hoping to money in on his fame, whether or not via e book contracts or media appearances reminiscent of in “Surviving R. Kelly,” the 2019 Lifetime documentary.
“They’re monetizing. They know what the sport is. They’re surviving off of R. Kelly,” Cannick mentioned, invoking the late civil rights chief Martin Luther King Jr as he implored jurors to summon what he referred to as the braveness to acquit the 54-year-old singer.
Cannick spoke after Assistant U.S. Lawyer Elizabeth Geddes completed her closing argument, which lasted about six hours unfold over two days.
Geddes reviewed testimony from dozens of accusers, former staff and others towards the singer, whose full title is Robert Sylvester Kelly, together with that he videotaped his exploits and hid his herpes analysis previous to intercourse.
“It’s time to maintain the defendant answerable for the ache he inflicted on every of his victims,” Geddes concluded, repeating the title of every accuser. “It’s now time for the defendant Robert Kelly to pay for his crimes. Convict him.”
Identified for the 1996 Grammy-winning smash “I Imagine I Can Fly,” Kelly pleaded not responsible to at least one rely of racketeering and eight counts of illegally transporting folks throughout state strains for prostitution in a trial that started on Aug. 18.
Prosecutors have portrayed Kelly as a violent predator who used his fame and charisma and deployed individuals who labored for him to lure girls and underage women into his sphere.
Kelly is likely one of the most distinguished folks tried for sexual misconduct in the course of the #MeToo motion, and has for a few years denied sexual abuse accusations.
His alleged victims embody the late singer Aaliyah, who died in a 2001 aircraft crash.
Jury deliberations could start on Friday, after U.S. District Decide Ann Donnelly instructs jurors on the regulation.
Sporting black glasses, Kelly had totally different reactions as he listened to closing arguments.
He hung his head after Geddes mentioned one affiliate had copied him on a threatening electronic mail to a sufferer, however later leaned ahead and targeted intensely on Cannick as his lawyer described his accusers’ testimony as “similar to butter, fluid.”
Cannick accused prosecutors of attempting to show all the things Kelly did into a criminal offense, when the truth is he handled them “like gold” and took them on buying sprees that price greater than automobiles.
He dismissed Jerhonda Tempo, the primary accuser to testify towards Kelly, as a “groupie, stalker extraordinaire,” and mentioned Kelly’s use of nondisclosure agreements was frequent within the leisure trade as a result of many individuals are targets.
Cannick additionally invoked the civil rights motion and King’s 1968 assassination to attempt to persuade jurors to carry prosecutors accountable for failing to show Kelly’s guilt.
“I informed you about Dr. King and the folks of braveness for a purpose,” Cannick mentioned. “Getting a conviction of R. Kelly is a giant deal, however an even bigger deal is equity.”
He urged jurors to make use of their frequent sense. “Someone’s life is at stake right here,” he mentioned.
Kelly didn’t testify in his personal protection, which may have uncovered him to days of robust questioning from prosecutors.
He faces separate felony prices in federal court docket in Chicago, and state prices in Illinois and Minnesota.