American R&B singer, R. Kelly told a judge on Wednesday September 22, that he will not testify in his own defense at his federal sex trafficking trial to avoid the risk of a potentially brutal cross-examination.
During the closing arguments on Wednesday afternoon, a prosecutor told jurors that the government had delivered on its promises to prove that the R&B singer had for years commanded close associates to help him target, groom and exploit girls, boys, and young women for his own sexual gratification.
‘You don’t want to testify, correct?’ US District Judge Ann Connelly asked the singer. He laconically responded: ‘Yes, ma’am.’
She said that Kelly got away with sexually abusing his victims by surrounding himself with a team which he strictly controlled. She described the assistants, drivers, bodyguards and others Kelly employed as a criminal enterprise that resulted in the federal racketeering charges brought against him.
Jurors could begin deliberating as early as Thursday. Kelly, 54, faces a life sentence, if convicted as charged, He was previously acquitted of a child pornography charge,
Kelly also faces separate criminal charges in federal court in Chicago, and state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
The brief defense case has relied on just a handful of former Kelly employees and other associates who agreed to take the stand over the course of two days to try to discredit allegations that he sexually abused women, girls and boys during a 30-year musical career.
By contrast, prosecutors have called 45 witnesses since the trial began in federal court in Brooklyn on August 18. They included several female and two male accusers to back up allegations that Kelly used a cadre of managers, bodyguards and assistants to systematically recruit potential victims at his shows, malls and fast-food restaurants where he hung out.
Most of the defense witnesses said they never saw Kelly abuse anyone. One went as far to say Kelly was ‘chivalrous’ to his girlfriends. Another admitted he owed Kelly for his break in music business and wanted to see him beat the case.