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Singer R. Kelly a sexual 'predator' -prosecutor

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  • R. Kelly
    R. Kelly
    American singer, songwriter, and record producer

R. Kelly’s sex abuse trial began Wednesday with a federal prosecutor calling the R&B superstar a “predator” who demanded absolute loyalty from many women and underage girls he recruited for sex in a two decade racketeering scheme.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Melendez told a jury of seven men and five women in a Brooklyn federal court that Kelly used (quote) "lies, manipulation, threats and physical abuse" to dominate his victims, and often filmed their sexual encounters.

Melendez said Kelly would require his victims to get his permission before doing virtually anything, including going to the bathroom, and blackmail them by threatening to release self-incriminating letters he forced them to write if they fled.

Kelly, a three-time Grammy winner whose songs include "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Bump N' Grind," has pleaded not guilty to a nine-count indictment that also includes accusations of bribery and extortion. He has strongly denied wrongdoing.

Attorney Gloria Allred, at the courthouse, told reporters she represents three of the alleged victims.

“All I can say is that I’m very confident that the court will afford a fair trial both to Mr. Kelly and also to the persons who are the alleged victims.”

[FLASH]

DEFENSE ATTORNEY THOMAS FARINELLA: "Excited for Mr. Kelly to have his day in court."

Kelly's legal team has characterized the accusers as "disgruntled groupies" who had pined to be with him, only to change their stories later.

The case is the culmination of years of suspicions and accusations against Kelly, many discussed in the 2019 Lifetime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly”.

Kelly has been jailed for more than two years, and could face decades in prison if convicted.

Even if acquitted, he still faces sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota, where he has also pleaded not guilty.

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