NEW YORK - In their closing arguments, federal prosecutors spent over six hours over two days going point by point through every racketeering and underage sex-trafficking charge against R&B star R. Kelly. They reminded the jury of the allegations from five witnesses who testified about enduring sexual assaults, physical abuses, and emotional domination over the course of more than 20 years.
"It is now time to hold the defendant responsible for the pain he inflicted on each of his victims," Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes said in her closing arguments in federal court in Downtown Brooklyn. "It is now time for the defendant, Robert Kelly, to pay for his crimes."
"Convict him," she said.
But Kelly's defense team told the jury those accusers lied on the stand.
They took specific aim at the first accuser to take the stand, Jerhonda Pace, calling her a "stalker and groupie extraordinaire" who fabricated her story that Kelly repeatedly slapped her and spit on her before forcing her into a sex act when she was a teenager. The defense also called into question another accuser's allegation that Kelly locked her in a room then drugged her because no other accuser had a similar story.
Instead, the defense told the jury "a lot of people watched 'Surviving R. Kelly' and now a lot of people are surviving off of R. Kelly."
Kelly, who is perhaps best known for the 1996 smash hit "I Believe I Can Fly," has vehemently denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges and multiple violations of the Mann Act, which criminalizes transporting anyone across state lines "for any immoral purpose."
With The Associated Press.