- The government began its closing argument in the R. Kelly sexual-abuse trial on Wednesday.
- The prosecutors alleged Kelly abused girls, boys, and women with help from his enablers.
- The closing argument is expected to continue Thursday.
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 a group of enablers, Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes told the jury in her closing argument Wednesday.
Geddes said that not every person in Kelly’s inner circle may have actively participated in his crimes but that 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.
“The law recognizes when someone commits a crime as a part of a group, he is more powerful,” she added.
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 charges against him.
He is charged with racketeering — which is when someone operates an enterprise of employees and associates to assist in crimes — and with transporting victims across state lines for sex.
During the prosecution’s case, which lasted 19 days, 11 accusers took the stand and said they had sexual relationships with the R&B star. 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.”
She added 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.
Drivers didn’t just drive Kelly around but transported young girls around at his disposal, she said.
She added that runners didn’t just get coffee and supplies for Kelly but took women and girls to hotels and escorted them to rooms where they stayed for days.
“Each of these individuals in his inner circle enabled him in various ways,” Geddes said.
She said members of the inner circle were aware of the control he maintained over his victims and used nondisclosure agreements in an attempt to ensure nobody would speak publicly against him.
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 proceedings are scheduled to continue Thursday morning.
Courtesy By INSIDER