The criminal charges R. Kelly was convicted of included one count of racketeering based on sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor and eight violations of the Mann Act, a sex-trafficking statute.
Racketeering is a charge often associated with organized crime, but it can be applied to any ongoing coordinated illegal scheme or criminal enterprise to carry out a common purpose. In this case, prosecutors said Mr. Kelly and his “inner circle” worked for more than two decades, in multiple states, to promote the singer’s brand, to recruit girls and young women for sexual exploitation, and to produce pornography.
Within that single racketeering count were 14 individual acts, some of which themselves had separate parts — and some of those parts had additional questions — each of which the jury had to consider in turn. Those acts included bribery, kidnapping, forced labor and violations of the Mann Act. The racketeering count carried a sentence of up to 20 years.
The jury separately considered eight Mann Act counts, related to transportation and coercion of two women, including a minor. Each of the Mann Act counts carried up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Mr. Kelly, who pleaded not guilty, was convicted on all counts and could face up to life in prison.
This was not the first criminal trial against the R&B singer, who has been trailed by a steady stream of abuse accusations that span much of his career. In 2008, Mr. Kelly was the defendant in a high-profile child pornography case that was tried in Chicago. In that case, Mr. Kelly, who pleaded not guilty, was acquitted of all the charges.