USA

R. Kelly made his victims write letters exonerating him. As an alternative, they helped convict him.


A lot of the proof that prosecutors used to convict R. Kelly came from the singer himself.

He obsessively collected message slips and letters written by the ladies he interacted with — some of them underage — in accordance with Ryan Chabot, the lead federal investigator within the case. Mr. Chabot stated he sifted by means of the proof recovered from a number of searches of the singer’s Chicago condominium and storage facility.

Mr. Kelly saved a number of the proof in FedEx folders, with labels like “Old Messages,” and different items — like a seven-page, front-and-back, handwritten letter from a girl who testified for 3 days early within the trial — in protecting sleeves in a locked secure.

Calling Mr. Kelly a “great man,” the lady wrote: “At the age of 17 I never had sex with Robert Kelly,” then proceeded to tick off a listing of particular intercourse acts that she stated she had not participated in with the R&B famous person.

Lower than two years later, when the lady who had written the letter testified below a pseudonym, she stated she had skilled coerced and recorded sexual encounters with the singer beginning when she was 17. He hit her usually, she stated, and forced her to get an abortion

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Each letter that prosecutors launched at trial got here from Mr. Kelly’s private assortment in what seemed to be a yearslong try to construct his protection even earlier than the indictment in Brooklyn was unsealed. They had been all signed by accusers who had been on the forefront of the case in opposition to the singer.

These accusers now say he compelled them to put in writing the letters, together with a man who testified that the singer advised him what to put in writing “word for word.”

The fabric, generally known as “collateral,” makes it tough for victims to flee, stated Dawn M. Hughes, a scientific and forensic psychologist who offered knowledgeable testimony for the prosecution. (She additionally testified as an knowledgeable on the trial of Keith Raniere, the Nxivm cult leader, who additionally relied on such collateral to intimidate girls he was abusing.)

Creating collateral retains adolescents “captive,” she stated, and creates an influence dynamic she likened to “slowly sucking the oxygen out of the room and once you realize it, you can’t get out.”



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