Prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes points to Defendant R. Kelly during her closing statement.
On the billboard behind her is a mug shot of the singer and pictures of members of his environment
Photo: JANE ROSENBERG / REUTERS
The closing arguments have begun in the abuse trial against R. Kelly.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes told a jury in New York on Wednesday that the singer used "lies, manipulation, threats and physical abuse" to abuse women and teenagers with impunity for decades.
The artist had previously waived his own statement.
The now 54-year-old with the real name Robert Sylvester Kelly rejects all allegations and has pleaded not guilty.
The closing arguments are expected to last at least until Thursday.
A jury made up of twelve jury members, seven men and five women, then decides on Kelly's fate.
Ring of supporters
According to Geddes, Kelly had a whole ring of supporters who systematically recruited victims for him and protected him.
"Without it, the accused would not have been able to practice his crime pattern for nearly three decades," Geddes said.
During her remarks, the prosecutor stood in front of a billboard on which a mug shot of the singer and pictures of members of his environment could be seen.
According to the prosecutor, they were either directly involved in criminal activity or they "made it possible" by "not asking questions" and "effectively enforcing the defendant's rules."
In the three previous days of the trial, the defense interviewed a total of five witnesses - former employees and a childhood friend of the now 54-year-old Kelly - as witnesses.
They said they hadn't seen the abuse.
Before the defense’s brief interviews, the prosecution called 45 witnesses to prove the allegations against Kelly and those around him.
Several women testified that they were raped, beaten, drugged and detained.
Sometimes they were refused food or the toilet.
The charges centered on the abuse of six women.
Among them was the singer Aaliyah, who illegally married Kelly when she was 15.
She died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.
Several other victims, including men, were only interviewed as witnesses.
In cross-examination, the defense attorneys attempted to portray the prosecutors as offended fans who became "spiteful" after their relationship with the superstar ended.
Six of the alleged victims were minors when Kelly allegedly started the abuse.
Many victims also said the singer regularly filmed the sex, which in several cases would constitute child pornography.
One woman said Kelly forced her to have an abortion as a teenager.
Four women said they contracted herpes after having sexual contact with the singer.
However, he kept his infection from them.
The trial of R. Kelly began in mid-August.
The singer of the world hit "I Believe I Can Fly" is accused of sexual abuse of minors, kidnapping and bribery between 1994 and 2018, among other things.
kim / AFP