Reaction poured in from attorneys, reporters and public officials Monday after singer R. Kelly was convicted on all nine counts in his federal sex trafficking trial.
The singer was convicted Monday after a jury spent nine hours deliberating his fate. Now, with Kelly facing anywhere from 10 years to life in prison, reactions are emerging from all corners of the country.
“This guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator who used fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless,” Jacquelyn Kasulis, acting U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District, said.
Jim DeRogatis, who ran his first story on allegations of sexual assault against the singer in Dec. 2000, was very emotional when the verdict was read in court on Monday.
“I got very emotional. I think of the women who trusted me and took 21 years to tell their story when no one else would listen,” he said.
The reporter, who penned the book “Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly,” says that justice came at least 25 years too late.
“Everyone in Chicago failed these young Black girls,” he said.
Testimony in the trial was often graphic, with Kelly demanding his victims to ask to use the bathroom, and locking them in rooms for days if they broke the so-called “Robert’s Rules.”
Kelly was acquitted for similar charges in a Chicago trial in 2008. In this case, racketeering charges normally used to convict mafia bosses allowed the government to introduce sexual abuse allegations outside of the statute of limitations.
The case was largely focused on music star Aaliyah’s relationship with Kelly. The two were married with falsified documents, stemming from when the late singer was 15 and Kelly was 27.
Attorney Raed Shalabi, who will represent the singer in an upcoming trial in Chicago, issued a statement Monday defending Kelly.
“I don’t believe the evidence presented was enough for a guilty verdict,” Shalabi said in a statement. “I believe that Mr. Kelly being such a public figure lead to an enormous amount of media coverage and television productions that had the court of public opinion already swayed in a direction that is difficult to rebound from. However, we are looking forward to Mr. Kelly having his trial in Chicago where his innocence can be proved.”
Even as future trials loom, and with appeals likely coming following the conviction, observers of the case say they are thankful that justice has been done.
“Nobody in the history of popular music has had a body count this extensive over so many years,” DeRogatis said. “He’s the worst predator in popular music.”
The singer will face sentencing on May 4.