Closing arguments have commenced at R Kelly’s sexual abuse trial in New York, after the RB singer decided not to testify in court.
Kelly has consistently denied racketeering and other charges accusing him of sexually abusing women, girls, and boys during the course of his 30-year-career.
The 54-year-old celebrity’s lawyers only called a handful of witnesses across two days, compared to the dozens called by the prosecution in the previous weeks of the trial.
Kelly had said on the record he would not testify at his own trial, as is his right, which would have put him in the witness box and available for cross-examination.
But the prosecution, led by assistant US attorney Elizabeth Geddes, said in closing remarks on Wednesday that the government had proved Kelly had told those around him to target, groom and exploit girls, boys and young women for his own sexual gratification.
Six weeks of testimony from more than 45 witnesses and other evidence “showed he did just that”, Ms Geddes said.
She added that Kelly ruled his enablers with an iron fist, meaning he could get away with sexually abusing his victims.
Addressing the jury, Ms Geddes said the RB singer’s assistants, drivers, bodyguards, and others employed by him made up a criminal enterprise, which resulted in the federal racketeering charges against him.
“The defendant set rules, lots of them, and he demanded complete obedience,” she said, adding that meant “for many years, what happened in the defendant’s world stayed in the defendant’s world – but no longer”.
Ms Geddes said Kelly had hidden his crimes in “plain sight” by wielding his “money and public persona”.
A lawyer for the embattled singer is expected to also present a closing argument.