During the trial, which was held in New York, 45 witnesses were involved. According to the indictment, executives and people around him helped him meet the girls and keep them obedient and quiet, which would amount to managing a criminal enterprise. Several accusers who testified in great detail during the trial, claiming that Kelly subjected them to his perverse and sadistic desires even if they were minors. According to assistant prosecutor Maria Cruz Melendez, Kelly is a serial rapist who “maintained control over the victims using every trick from the predator’s manual”.
In 1994 Kelly made headlines by marrying the R&B phenomenon Aaliyah then 15 years old (on the marriage certificate her age had been falsified to pretend that she was of age). The following year the wedding was canceled. While in 2002 he was accused of child pornography: he allegedly filmed himself abusing a 14-year-old girl. But the young woman who had accused him did not testify at the trial and the singer was acquitted in 2008.
The documentary arrived in 2019 to (re) move the waters “Surviving R. Kelly” which in the era of the MeToo movement gave voice to numerous victims. So Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was jailed without bail. The trial was delayed due to the pandemic and then began on August 18, 2021.
At the trial, many of Kelly’s accusers testified without using their real names to protect their privacy and prevent attacks from the singer’s fans. Jurors were shown videos shot by the same singer engaging in sexual acts that prosecutors said was not consensual. Witnesses said they were ordered to call him “Dad”, they had to jump up and kiss him every time he walked into a room. According to the allegations, his victims would be subjected to threats and punishments such as violent spanking if they broke what he called “Rob’s rules”. The singer also shot a video in which he smeared a woman’s visa with feces for breaking the rules. Some of the strongest heartbreaking testimonies came from a woman who recounted how the singer took advantage of her in 2003 when she was an intern at a radio station: Kelly allegedly took her to her Chicago recording studio, where she was kept locked up and drugged before being raped.
While the verdict for this trial will arrive on May 4, 2022, the singer is involved in another trial in Chicago with allegations of child pornography and obstruction of justice.