R. Kelly has been found guilty of racketeering charges in federal court Monday after decades of sexual abuse allegations. Prosecutors announced the verdict after arguing in a Brooklyn, New York courtroom during closing arguments that Kelly masterminded a scheme to "target, groom and exploit girls, boys and women," according to CNN.
Prosecutors alleged in an indictment that Kelly and his team, which included managers, bodyguards and assistants, "traveled throughout the United States and abroad to perform at concert venues...and to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly" dating back to 1999. The "I Believe I Can Fly" singer allegedly required his victims to comply with rules in which they were not permitted to leave their room without receiving permission, "including to eat or go to the bathroom," were "not permitted to look at other men" and "were required to call Kelly 'Daddy.'" Many of these allegations came out in the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which also looked back on R. Kelly's acquittal 13 years ago on child pornography charges at an Illinois state trial.
Kelly's defense team denied the allegations against him during the 23-day trial, accusing the more than 50 witnesses who testified against the artist of lying after being misled by the government and allowed to lie about what the artist claimed were consensual relationships. "A lot of people watched 'Surviving R. Kelly,' and unfortunately a lot of people are now surviving off of R. Kelly," Kelly's attorney Deveraux Cannick said.
The government had a different view. "R. Kelly's Enterprise was not only engaged in music; as alleged, for two decades the enterprise at the direction of R. Kelly preyed upon young women and teenagers whose dreams of meeting a superstar, soon turned into a nightmare of rape, child pornography and forced labor," Angel Melendez, special agent in charge from Homeland Security Investigations, said in a statement after Kelly's 2019 indictment.
Kelly is still facing legal troubles after this trial, facing more federal charges in the Northern District of Illinois including child pornography and obstruction charges. He also faces criminal charges in Minnesota for two counts of engaging in prostitution with a minor, and Illinois state charges for aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.