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R. Kelly found guilty in sex trafficking trial

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R&B superstar R Kelly has been convicted in a sex trafficking trial in the United States after decades of avoiding criminal responsibility for numerous allegations of misconduct with young women and children.

A jury of seven men and five women on Monday found Kelly, 54, guilty of all nine counts, including racketeering, on their second day of deliberations.

Kelly wore a face mask below black-rimmed glasses and remained motionless with eyes downcast, as the verdict was read in federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors alleged that the entourage of managers and aides who helped Kelly meet girls – and keep them obedient and quiet – amounted to a criminal enterprise. Two people have been charged with Kelly in a separate federal case pending in Chicago.

He faces the possibility of decades in prison for crimes, including violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex trafficking law that prohibits taking anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose”. Sentencing is scheduled for May 4.

One of Kelly’s lawyers, Deveraux Cannick, said he was disappointed and hoped to appeal. “I think I’m even more disappointed the government brought the case in the first place, given all the inconsistencies,” Cannick said.

Several accusers testified in lurid detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.

For years, the public and news media seemed to be more amused than horrified by allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors, starting with Kelly’s illegal marriage to the R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15.

His records and concert tickets kept selling. Other artists continued to record his songs, even after he was arrested in 2002 and accused of making a recording of himself sexually abusing and urinating on a 14-year-old girl.

Widespread public condemnation did not come until a widely watched docuseries called, Surviving R. Kelly, helped make his case a signifier of the #MeToo era. This gave voice to accusers who wondered if their stories were previously ignored because they were Black women.

“To the victims in this case, your voices were heard and justice was finally served,” said acting US Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis on Monday.

Gloria Allred, a lawyer for some of Kelly’s accusers, said outside the court that “Mr Kelly is the worst” of all the predators she has gone after – a list that includes Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein.

At the trial, several of Kelly’s accusers testified without using their real names to protect their privacy. Jurors were shown homemade videos of Kelly engaging in sex acts that prosecutors said were not consensual. The defence labelled the accusers “groupies” and “stalkers”.

Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been jailed without bail since 2019. The New York case is only part of the legal peril facing the singer. He also has pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. Trial dates in those cases have yet to be set.

SOURCE: Aljazeera

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LeBron James breaks NBA all-time scoring record

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LeBron James has become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 39-year-old record. (more…)

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Snoop Dogg has yet to win a Grammy despite being nominated 20 times

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After 20 nominations, Hip Hop legend Snoop Dogg, has yet to win his first Grammy award. (more…)

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Photos from Grammys 2023: Red Carpet Fashion

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The Grammy Awards red carpet is known for more risqué fashion than some of its silver screen counterparts, and the music industry’s biggest names delivered again on Sunday evening. (more…)

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Viola Davis reaches EGOT status with a Grammy win

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Viola Davis has earned the rare and coveted EGOT status — becoming the third Black woman in history to achieve the honor. (more…)

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British artists triumph at 2023 Grammy Awards

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British artists triumph at 2023 Grammy Awards

Billed as “music’s biggest night”, the Grammys are the industry’s most prestigious awards.

Sunday’s show was attended by Adele, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z Shania Twain and Stevie Wonder, with performances from Lizzo, Steve Lacy and Brandi Carlile.

British artists had a good night, with indie duo Wet Leg winning two prizes, including best alternative album; and Sam Smith receiving best pop duo/group performance for Unholy, a duet with Kim Petras.

Smith’s prize was their first Grammy since 2015, when they won four trophies, including best new artist.

However, the singer let Petras take the microphone to mark another historical achievement.

Read Also: Beyonce sets new record at Grammy Awards as first artist to win 32 nods

“Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” said the German-born singer.

She went on to thank the late, transgender pop artist Sophie for “kicking these doors open”, and Madonna “for fighting for LGBTQ rights”, before dedicating the award to her mother.

“I grew up next to nowhere in Germany and my mother believed me, that I was a girl,” she said, as Smith looked on with pride. “I wouldn’t be here without her and her support.”

The duo later gave a sultry, BDSM-inspired performance of their ode to infidelity, introduced by Madonna.

“If they call you shocking, scandalous, troublesome, problematic, provocative, or dangerous you’re definitely onto something,” said the star.

Adele also won best pop vocal performance for Easy On Me, dedicating the prize to her son Angelo. This was her 18 Grammy award.

The singer told the audience she had written the first verse “in the shower when I was choosing to change my son’s life”, by divorcing her then-husband, Simon Konecki.

She added: “I love a piano ballad winning any kind of award because it’s very old school and very brave.”

This year, Harry Styles took the crown, with Grammy voters recognising the slick, radio-friendly pop of his third record Harry’s House.

In his speech, the British star downplayed the importance of the prize.

“On nights like tonight, it’s obviously so important for us to remember that there is no such thing as best in music,” said the singer.

“I don’t think any of us sit in the studio, making decisions based on what is going to get us one of these.”

However, he was visibly moved by the honour, adding: “This doesn’t happen to people like me very often, and this is so, so nice.”

Earlier in the night, the star also won best pop album – receiving his award with a kiss from Jennifer Lopez.

“This album from start to finish has been the greatest experience of my life,” he said. “From making it with two of my best friends to playing for people has been the greatest joy I could have asked for.”

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Beyonce sets new record at Grammy Awards as first artist to win 32 nods

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Beyonce sets record at Grammy Awards as first artist to win 32 nods

Pop superstar Beyonce has broken the record for most career wins at the Grammy Awards. (more…)

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