R. Kelly is unlikely to testify during his trial

Image credit: The Guardian

According to a list of witnesses provided by R. Kelly’s lawyers, he is unlikely to testify in his sex trafficking trial. After a month of gruesome testimony from a series of men and women who accused Mr. Kelly of abusing them as youths, the star’s defence began on Monday. Mr. Kelly had never acted inappropriately toward minor girls, according to the first two defence witnesses. The 54-year-old musician denies all claims levelled against him.

These charges include one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prevents individuals from being transported across state boundaries for the purpose of prostitution.

Prosecutors have painted the singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, as a predator who groomed and preyed on young girls as far back as the mid-1990s, when songs like I Believe I Can Fly and She’s Got That Vibe catapulted him to popularity.

The singer Aaliyah, who was 15 when Mr. Kelly married her unlawfully in 1994, is one of his claimed victims. The marriage was later declared null and void, and Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.

The jury in Brooklyn heard from a number of men and women who said that the singer took control of their lives by enforcing harsh restrictions about when they could eat, sleep, and go to the restroom, as well as pressuring them into sexual acts that he would frequently videotape.

Kelly was accused by several witnesses of omitting to inform them that he had the sexually transmitted disease herpes, which they later caught following sexual contact with him.

Mr. Kelly’s lawyers say they want to summon roughly a half-dozen additional witnesses, including an investigator, an accountant, and a friend of Jerhonda Pace, the first complainant to testify in the case.

Mr. Kelly’s name did not appear on the list. In an angry and tearful TV interview, the star previously protested his innocence, possibly making his lawyers wary of a similar outburst in court.

Whatever the outcome of the Brooklyn trial, the singer faces a separate trial in Chicago for child pornography and obstruction, as well as sex abuse charges in Illinois and Minnesota.’