R Kelly - the disgraced singer who has been marred by allegations for years - was found guilty on all charges by a New York court on Monday. The New York Times described it as “a stunning fall for a man who was once one of the biggest names in R&B music”.
The trial was also described as “the first Me Too-era trial in which most of the victims were Black women”.
R KELLY CONVICTED
Below are some of the key points to note;
- What charges was he convicted on? One count of racketeering, and eight counts of violating a sex trafficking law.
- About the trial: It lasted five weeks, and saw 50 defence and prosecution witnesses testify.
- About the jury: It was made up of seven men and five women.
- What sentence will he receive? He will not be sentenced until May 4 next year, but it is being widely reported he could face “decades in prison”.
- Will he appeal? According to his lawyer, R Kelly did not expect this verdict and an appeal is being considered.
- Bigger picture: This wasn’t Kelly’s only legal battle. He also faces trials in Illinois and Minnesota.
- Worth noting: 13 years ago, Kelly was cleared of child pornography charges, relating to allegations he made sexually explicit videos with an underage girl. In what is a damning look at how previous allegations were treated in the early 2000s, the same day Kelly posted a $750,000 bond related to the case, the “accused child pornographer” sang with kindergartners.
*Here is a helpful article with some of the key testimony in this landmark trial.
MONDAY’S OTHER MAIN LINES
- A 36-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Sabina Nessa, the teacher who was murdered in east London on September 17. The man, named Koci Selamaj, will appear in court later today.
In Afghanistan, the head of Kabul university has announced a ban on women working or studying at the institution. Remember: When the Taliban came back into power in August, they made assurances it would be a more inclusive society than their time in power between 1996 and 2001. A few weeks ago, a decision was made to segregate men and women studying.
Also worth noting: As Reuters reported earlier this month, the country’s Ministry for Women’s Affairs has been replaced with a ministry for prayers, virtues and vice.
A Japanese princess has decided to forego a one-off payment of more than $1 million, as she prepares to give up her royal status. Princess Mako and her “commoner” fiance have been engaged since 2017, and some reports suggest a wedding could be announced imminently.
Background: There are many traditions in the Japanese royal family that raise eyebrows. Firstly, the throne can only be passed down to male heirs, regardless of whether or not the emperor’s eldest child is a girl. Secondly, any female royal member who marries a “commoner” must give up their royal status. As they leave the royal family, they can receive a one-off payment - which is what Princess Mako is set to decline.
ON TODAY’S AGENDA…
Paris attack trial: victim testimonies are expected to begin today in the complex trial over the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 dead. The trial has been described as the biggest in France’s modern history.
Remember: Salah Abdeslam is the only person alive who is on trial suspected of being behind the attacks. Others are on trial accused of assisting with the attacks.
WHAT ABOUT WIKILEAKS?
A mind-blowing investigation by Yahoo News reveals officials “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration discussed options to kidnap and even assassinate Julian Assange.
Remember: Assange is an incredibly divisive figure - to some he is considered an investigative journalist and hero, to others he is viewed as a traitor of the west who put American lives, in particular, at risk. He is the head of WikiLeaks, the organisation that published thousands upon thousands of classified documents, many damning to the CIA. Between 2012 and 2019, Assange was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he sought asylum to prevent being extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges. Assange has been in a London prison since April 2019, as a US effort to have him extradited continues.
Anyway, back to the Yahoo investigation: It makes for a fascinating read. Yahoo News spoke to 30 former US officials for this investigation - eight of them described a CIA proposal to kidnap Assange.
Worth noting: The CIA declined to comment on the report.
China is to limit access to abortions for non-medical purposes.
Bigger picture: This is widely being reported and viewed as part of the country’s ongoing effort to tackle its declining birth rate.
Remember: The country previously had a one-child policy. Permission to have two children didn’t make a significant impact to the birth rate. Early this summer, the government in Beijing announced people could now have three children, but often the cost of raising a child is the reason given by couples to not want more than one child.
“Between 2014 and 2018, there had been an average of 9.7 million abortions per year, rising about 51 percent from the 2009-2013 average despite a relaxation of family planning policies in 2015. The data did not specify how many abortions were for medical reasons.” - Analysis from Al Jazeera
A new Britney Spears documentary is set to release on Netflix later today, a day ahead of the latest hearing in the complex legal battle to end her conservatorship.
It follows the release of yet another New York Times documentary - Controlling Britney Spears - last Friday.
What was alleged in the latest report? A former security official said Britney’s phone was mirrored so it could be monitored, and an audio recording device was put in her bedroom.
Britney’s lawyers said those latest allegations “represent an unconscionable and disgraceful violation of her privacy rights” and warrant further investigation.
- BBC News: Army put on standby to ease fuel crisis
- The Guardian: Boris Johnson puts arm on standby amid fuel supply crisis
- The Financial Times: Scholz and Social Democrats win tight German election
- Al Jazeera: Taliban takes on ISKP, its most serious foe in Afghanistan
STATUE SPLITS OPINION
A newly-unveiled statue of a scantily clad woman in Italy has sparked a debate about sexism.
According to The Guardian, the statue is based on a poem written in 1857 about “the story of a failed expedition against the Kingdom of Naples by Carlo Pisacane”.
“Once again, we have to suffer the humiliation of seeing ourselves represented in the form of a sexualised body, devoid of soul and without any connection with the social and political issues of the story.” - A statement from a group of female politicians in Italy, according to The Guardian
ON A LIGHTER NOTE…
Travel during a pandemic.