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R. Kelly decides not to testify in sex trafficking trial

World29 minutes ago (Sep 22, 2021 11:46AM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: R. Kelly appears for a hearing at Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., June 26, 2019. E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

By Tyler Clifford

NEW YORK (Reuters) – R. Kelly said on Wednesday he will not testify in his own defense at his sex trafficking trial in Brooklyn, where the government accused the R&B singer of grooming and sexually abusing women and underage girls.

Kelly, 54, announced his intention after five witnesses spoke in his defense over nearly two days, following 4-1/2 weeks of testimony from prosecution witnesses https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/prosecutors-rest-case-against-r-kelly-after-month-testimony-2021-09-20.

“No, ma’am,” Kelly told U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly when asked if he would testify, which he is not required to do. Kelly also said he understood the implications of his decision.

Closing arguments are expected to begin later Wednesday, and jurors could begin deliberating on Thursday.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, had pleaded not guilty to one count of racketeering and eight counts of illegally transporting people across state lines for prostitution.

Prosecutors have tried to portray him as an intemperate predator who exploited his fame to attract fans into his circle, where he would demand strict obedience or else punish them.

Kelly has repeatedly denied sexual abuse accusations https://www.reuters.com/world/us/timeline-r-kellys-life-sex-abuse-case-against-him-2021-08-19, which have dogged him for about two decades.

The defense’s fifth witness, music industry executive Julius Darrington, testified on Wednesday that he sometimes spent 10- to 12-hour days with Kelly after meeting him in 2016.

Darrington said he never saw women being locked in rooms, heard screaming or crying, or saw Kelly strike anyone, which other witnesses have said took place.

On cross-examination, prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes tried to emphasize how Darrington was not monitoring Kelly around the clock.

“You have no knowledge of what the defendant did behind closed doors when you weren’t there, correct?” she asked.

“Correct,” Darrington responded.

Kelly also faces separate criminal charges in federal court in Chicago, and state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

R. Kelly decides not to testify in sex trafficking trial

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