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After a Last-Stand Defense, R. Kelly’s Fate Is Now in a Jury’s Hands

R. Kelly’s lead lawyer, Deveraux Cannick, started the R&B star’s closing protection in his racketeering and intercourse trafficking trial on Thursday by discussing the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. In his closing assertion to the jury in a Brooklyn federal courtroom, Cannick contemplated the civil rights motion and the significance of residing as much as the imaginative and prescient of America as set out by the Structure.

Invoking King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, Cannick prompt that Kelly and King had been preventing related battles to make the USA “be true to what’s on paper.”

“Someplace I learn of the liberty of meeting. Someplace I learn of the liberty of speech. Someplace I learn of the liberty of the press,” Cannick quoted, earlier than bringing listeners again to the courtroom. “That’s all Robert is attempting to do.”

It was, objectively, a head-scratching comparability. Over the course of his practically three-hour remarks, Cannick didn’t return to it, however continued to talk at a equally lofty rhetorical degree. “He doesn’t want your sympathy,” the lawyer stated. “He simply wants your sense of equity.” Using lengthy pauses and heavy repetition of key phrases, he usually let such declarations sit in dramatic silence. The remarks got here as Kelly’s federal trial on charges related to racketeering and sex trafficking approached its conclusion after greater than 5 weeks. Kelly has pleaded not responsible to every cost and faces between 10 years in jail and a life sentence if convicted on all counts. 

The substance of Cannick’s summation relied on the tack he’s taken throughout his cross-examination of Kelly’s alleged victims, depicting them as disgruntled followers who invited Kelly’s advances or had been searching for cash. He referred to 1 accuser as “a stalker, a groupie extraordinaire.” Citing purchasing sprees and Uber accounts that he stated Kelly paid for, Cannick stated, “You heard a few man who handled these ladies like gold.” 

In a single occasion, Cannick mocked the disposition of witnesses who didn’t instantly reply his questions: Uh, aw, I don’t know. It was considered one of a number of makes an attempt to inject some humor into his remarks, and one play on phrases appeared to carry him specific pleasure.

“Lots of people watched Surviving R. Kelly,” Cannick stated, referring to the 2019 documentary collection that introduced new waves of scrutiny to the allegations in opposition to Kelly, “and sadly, lots of people at the moment are surviving off R. Kelly.”

The Kelly supporters on the scene, enjoying his music exterior the courthouse as they’ve all through the trial, cheered Cannick as he left the constructing.

In her rebuttal, U.S. Legal professional Nadia Shihata took specific objection to Cannick’s statements about how Kelly’s alleged victims dressed or danced. “It’s as if we took a time machine and went again to a courthouse within the Nineteen Fifties,” she stated on Thursday. “What they’re principally insinuating is that each one of those ladies and ladies had been asking for it they usually deserved what they bought.

“It’s not simply absurd,” Shihata continued. “It’s shameful.”

In her remarks, which lasted for roughly an hour over the course of two days, Shihata urged jurors to withstand Cannick’s rhetorical type. “He usually raised his voice, walked across the courtroom, and placed on a present,” she stated on Friday, recalling an trade early within the trial when Cannick pressed considered one of Kelly’s accusers to elucidate how she might’ve aged two years between April 2008 and Could 2009, solely to rapidly study that the witness’s birthday was April 19. “That’s the sort of nonsense that went on in right here,” Shihata stated.

On a number of events, in its closing assertion and rebuttal to the protection’s summation, the prosecution invoked the primary names (a few of that are pseudonyms) of the six ladies whose allegations in opposition to Kelly type the core of the case in opposition to him: Aaliyah, Jane, Sonja, Stephanie, Jerhonda, and Religion. As Shihata listed them for a closing time within the trial, she stood beside a bulletin board that depicted the alleged enterprise of Kelly’s staff, who prosecutors declare have enabled Kelly’s abuse all through his profession.

With arguments coming to a detailed, the jury is anticipated to start deliberating on Friday. Throughout Shihata’s rebuttal, Kelly sometimes shook or hung his head because the prosecution concluded its portrait of the methods wherein he has operated all through his profession. “For nearly three a long time the defendant believed he was untouchable,” Shihata stated. “He nonetheless believes that at this time.”

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https://www.vanityfair.com/type/2021/09/after-a-last-stand-defense-r-kellys-fate-is-now-in-a-jurys-hands | After a Final-Stand Protection, R. Kelly’s Destiny Is Now in a Jury’s Fingers

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