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Prosecutors Play Audio Tapes For a Jury in a Sex Trafficking Case Against R. Kelly

On Wed. Sep. 15, prosecutors played tapes for a jury in New York that they claim confirms allegations against R&B singer R. Kelly for threatening violence on women and girls during his highlighted career. 

In a Brooklyn Federal court, jurors had the opportunity to listen to videos and audiotapes that prosecutors say proved he victimized young women and girls. Jurors were given headphones to listen to these tapes and according to a video feed from the courtroom, Kelly was shown not wearing the headphones so he was unable to hear the 2008 tapes. The public and press do not have access to these tapes as the judge wanted to have a managed restricted courtroom to take precautions against the contagious coronavirus. Because of this restriction it is unsure what these tapes exactly contain but according to the AP Press, prosecutors believe this evidence is strong enough to portray Kelly as a sexual predator who groomed and exploited his young victims. 

The sex trafficking trai against Kelly has been underway since Aug. 18. The government rested its case on Friday. Kelly’s lawyers will begin it’s defense starting Monday Sep. 20. NBC New York says Kelly’s lawyers have portrayed the victims as groupies who are trying to take advantage of his fame. Since August there have been multiple testimonies from his accusers that have been brought up to the stand. The list of individuals who have given their testimony to the court has been a group of several different women, only being referred to by their first name, and one man. Kelly’s attorney, Linda Mensch told Pitchfork “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”

The prosecution alleges that Kelly has been exploiting and abusing his victims for over two decades. Oxygen reports that Kelly promised these young women and a man riches and fame as he abused them. Prosecutors also allege that Kelly had an organized group of employees who would recruit young women to play into his own sexual desires.

Oxygen also reports that the prosecution brought forward evidence regarding the one male victim who gave his testimony to the court. This evidence was brought forth to the court in July, saying that in 2006 Kelly came in contact with a 17-year-old boy which he then invited to his Chicago studio. It was at this location that he allegedly came in sexual contact with the boy.

Kelly claims that the momentum of allegations came to view as a result of the #metoomovement. Although this was not his first stream of accusations. Simultaneously his past accusations also had to do with his sexual behavior. In Chicago of 2002, Kelly was accused of 21 counts of child sexual assault imagery; he was aquitted of these charges in 2008. Asante McGee, one of Kelly’s alleged victims from his 2008 acquitted trial tells CBS that “she believes that justice will be served in this trial, as more evidence has been presented”.

Kelly was moved from a Chicago facility in July to the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn before the start of his trial in Aug..

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