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R. Kelly’s Defense Rests in Federal Racketeering Trial, Closing Arguments Begin

The defense for R. Kelly rested its case Wednesday in the singer’s federal trial on racketeering charges in Brooklyn, with Kelly’s lawyers calling only five witnesses to the stand over the three-day-long defense.

However, Kelly opted to not testify in his own defense, avoiding the prosecutors’ cross-examination. According to the Chicago Tribune, After the defense called its fifth and final witness, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly asked Kelly, “You don’t want to testify, correct?” Kelly responded, “Yes, ma’am.”

Kelly’s lawyers previously stated that it was unlikely that the singer would take the stand; Wednesday’s announcement confirmed the decision.

The defense’s final witness was Julius Darrington, a music executive who began working with Kelly in 2016. Darrington testified that he never witnessed Kelly’s “girlfriends” being “locked up” in the singer’s studios, Kelly being physical with any of the women or even see any of the women crying.

However, on cross-examination, prosecutors got Darrington to admit that he was never present during Kelly’s “sexual activity,” nor did he spend any time with the singer behind closed doors. Darrington also testified that he considered Kelly a “friend” who helped him break into the music industry.

The defense’s previous witnesses – when they actually showed up at the trial – similarly testified that they never saw Kelly being untoward or physical with the women; by contrast, the prosecution presented more than 40 witnesses in total, including 11 victims of alleged abuse, six of whom claimed they were underage at the time the abuse is said to have taken place.

Closing arguments began in the trial following a lunch break Wednesday, with the jury expected to begin deliberating the case on Thursday.

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