As R. Kelly’s sex trafficking trial nears its end, it’s being reported that the singer will not take the stand and defend himself against the allegations that have been made against him. During a court hearing on Wednesday morning (Sept. 22), Judge Ann Donnelly asked the Chicago native if he wished not to testify, and he frankly replied, “Yes ma’am.”
Prior to his response, music consultant Julius Darrington shared his testimony, which was in defense of the singer. After working and traveling with Kelly for years, he told the judge and the jury that he’d never witnessed the vocalist abuse or take unfair advantage of his girlfriends. He also made it clear that he is unaware of the activities the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer partook in it outside of his presence.
After several delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelly’s trial started nearly a month ago and featured testimonies from a number of witnesses, including the singer’s former dancer, who confessed that he sexually abused the late Aaliyah. Other people who took the stand were Sonja, who revealed that she was instructed to follow some rules and sent to a room, where she stayed before Kelly popped up and raped her. Suzette Mayweather, who worked as his assistant, said his girlfriends were punished for twerking during a studio session.
Most recently, Diana Copeland, Kelly’s longtime assistant of 15 years, said that she had never witnessed him hold any women against their own will and denied rumors that she helped to recruit the singer’s girlfriends.
Per multiple news outlets, the closing arguments for the trial are slated to take place Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 22). The “Step in the Name of Love” singer faces nine charges, including sex-trafficking, racketeering and eight violations of the Mann Act. He has maintained his innocence throughout the years.