What is Racketeering, and why was R.Kelly charged with it?

After years of accusations, and a federal court trial in New York that lasted seven weeks, famous R&B singer R. Kelly has been found guilty of charges including racketeering and sex trafficking involving five victims.

On Monday, 28th September 2021, the jury deliberated for hours before finding R. Kelly guilty of all nine counts he faced in the trial in Brooklyn federal court, including racketeering — which has 14 underlying acts, including kidnapping, forced labour, sex trafficking and bribery. He was also charged with eight counts of violating the Mann Act — a federal law that criminalises the transportation of “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.”

Out of the 14 possible racketeering acts considered in the trial, the jury found only two ‘not proven. The two allegations that haven’t been proven involves a woman who said Kelly took advantage of her in 2003 when she was an unsuspecting radio station intern.

Additionally, the singer faces outstanding criminal charges in both Cook County, Ill. and Minnesota. In February 2019, he was indicted by the state attorney for aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims (three of them minors) in Cook County, Ill., while in Minnesota, Kelly was charged with engaging in prostitution with a minor in August 2019.

Related article: Police rush to R. Kelly’s apartment following reports of a suicide pact by girlfriends.

Kelly was described as stoic and emotionless. He only shook his head to show “no” at some statements being made about him, during the court sessions.

R.Kelly convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking

What is Racketeering, and why was R.Kelly charged with it?

Racketeering is usually an organised crime by a group — that extort, coerce or otherwise develop some type of scheme (a racket) that allows them to collect money from people repeatedly over a period of time.

In this trial, prosecutors alleged that the entourage of managers and aides who helped R. Kelly meet girls — and keep them obedient and quiet — amounted to a criminal enterprise.

So far, two people have been charged alongside Kelly in a separate federal case pending in Chicago. Accusers had testified that Kelly controlled their day-to-day lives, including when they could use the restroom and forced them to complete sexual acts.

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