NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The jury began deliberations Friday in R. Kelly’s sex trafficking and racketeering trial in New York City.
During the six weeks of testimony, jurors heard from 50 witnesses, including 45 for the prosecution.READ MORE: R. Kelly Accuser Testifies Singer Controlled What She Could Say In CBS This Morning Interview
Friday around 10:30 a.m., the judge began charging the jury, instructing them for about three hours.
At 1:40 p.m., the jury of seven men and five women began deliberating. They called it a day around 5:30 p.m. after asking to see all the exhibits, a floor plan of Kelly’s recording studio, readback of the testimony, and more.
The verdict sheet is about seven pages long.
Robert Sylvester Kelly, 54, is charged with one count of racketeering, which has 14 underlying acts including kidnapping, forced labor, sex trafficking and bribery. The government must prove at least two of the 14.
Kelly is also charged with eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines for any immoral purpose.
WEB EXTRA: Timeline Of R. Kelly’s Life And Career
The prosecution argues Kelly ran an enterprise of assistants, bodyguards and others all used to recruit, groom and exploit underage girls, boys and young women for sexual gratification, using moves out of the “predator playbook.”READ MORE: Cook County Clerk Testifies About Kelly’s Marriage To Late Singer Aaliyah When She Was 15 Years Old
Witnesses testified about being locked in rooms and having to ask permission to leave or use the bathroom. Some claim Kelly gave them herpes without disclosing he had an STD.
It’s alleged in 1994 a government worker was bribed to get the late singer Aaliyah, then just 15, a fake ID so that Kelly could marry her because he feared he had gotten her pregnant. It falsely said she was 18. He was 27 at the time.
Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has vehemently denied all accusations but he did not take the stand.
In 2019, he sat down with Gayle King, telling her “I didn’t do this stuff.”
Kelly’s defense began its closing argument Thursday by comparing the R&B singer’s trial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight for constitutional rights, and argued that witnesses lied on the stand, calling the accusers groupies and saying they tried to take advantage of his fame, claiming Kelly gave them a lavish lifestyle.
The jury is now taking into consideration the testimony from 50 witnesses called – 45 for the prosecution and five for the defense – and hundreds of pieces of evidence.
The judge told them “you are the sole judges of the facts.”MORE NEWS: 1st Accuser Testifies About Alleged Abuse When She Was 16 Years Old