R. Kelly was able to sexually abuse so many because his entourage of enablers empowered him, prosecutors told the jury in closing argument


R&B singer R. Kelly covers his mouth as he speaks to members of his entourage as he leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building following a hearing on June 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Prosecutors turned over to Kelly’s defense team a DVD that alleges to show Kelly having sex with an underage girl in the 1990s. Kelly has been charged with multiple sex crimes involving four women, three of whom were underage at the time of the alleged encounters.

  • The government began its closing argument in the R. Kelly sexual abuse trial on Wednesday.
  • Kelly abused girls, boys, and women with help from his enterprise of enablers, the prosecutor said.
  • The closing argument is expected to continue Thursday.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

R. Kelly was able to sexually abuse a long list of boys, girls, and women for more than two decades because he surrounded himself with an enterprise of enablers, Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes told the jury in her closing argument Wednesday.

Not every person in Kelly’s inner circle may have actively participated in his crimes – though some did – but even those who simply “turned a blind eye” to the singer’s behavior contributed to his ability to get away with the abuse for as long as he did, Geddes said.

“The law recognizes when someone commits a crime as a part of a group he is more powerful.”

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have accused the singer of sexually abusing more than 20 girls, boys, and women, many of them when they were teenagers, and of directing his employees to procure partners for sex in what amounted to a criminal enterprise. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all the accusations against him.

He is charged with racketeering – which alleges operating an enterprise of employees and associates to assist in his crimes – and with transporting victims across state lines for sex.

During the prosecution’s case, which lasted 19 days, 11 accusers who said they had sexual relationships with the R&B star, took the stand. Investigators and some of the singer’s former employees also testified.

Jurors heard from prosecution witnesses that Kelly had an explosive temper, and that he maintained strict control over the many young women he was having sex with, including requiring them to get permission to use the bathroom. Some accusers said they were left in rooms for days, or alleged Kelly physically abused them.

In her closing on Wednesday, Geddes said Kelly used his fame, popularity and network of people at his disposal to recruit and groom boys, girls and young women for sex for more than two decades.

“You’ve heard all about his inner circle,” Geddes said. “Over the last three decades, the individuals have changed, but their roles have stayed the same.”

While some of the duties of Kelly’s entourage were legitimate, like to promote his music and tours, their jobs extended far beyond the norm, she described.

Drivers didn’t just drive Kelly around, but transported young girls around at his disposal, she said.

Runners didn’t just get coffee and supplies for Kelly, but they took women and girls to hotels and escorted them to rooms where they stayed for days, she said.

“Each of these individuals in his inner circle enabled him in various ways,” Geddes said.

Members of the inner circle were aware of the control he maintained over his victims, using nondisclosure agreements in an attempt to ensure nobody would speak publicly against him, she said.

If any of his employees or victims crossed him, he used his “henchmen” to lodge threats, she said.

Geddes added: “The defendant set rules, lots of them, and he demanded complete obedience.”

The prosecution’s closing argument spanned more than 3 1/2 hours before court closed on Wednesday afternoon. The proceeding is scheduled to continue Thursday morning.

Read the original article on Insider

[ source ]