R Kelly, Funding the Gov, and French President Emmanuel Macron | Daily skimming
Disclaimer: This story mentions sexual abuse, which may be triggering for some readers.
R Kelly was found guilty.
Catch me up.
Since the 1990s, women and girls have accused the singer of sexual abuse, manipulation and inappropriate relationships. But he escaped the law, despite several women coming forward. And was also acquitted in 2008 of child pornography charges. But more than a decade later, an explosive documentary shed light on the sexual misconduct allegations made against him. Kelly’s trial began last month. He faced eight counts of sex trafficking and one count of racketeering – which included kidnapping and bribery. Kelly has always denied the allegations. But yesterday a jury – made up of seven men and five women – found him guilty on all counts.
Tell me more.
During the six-week trial, prosecutors presented 45 witnesses, including 11 accusers. In this case, he was indicted for crimes directly related to six people whom he had ill-treated. Their names are: Aaliyah (the famous R&B singer), Stephanie, Sonja, Jerhonda, Jane and Faith. Some have testified to Kelly’s illegal marriage to Aaliyah when she was just 15. A woman testified that the R&B singer sexually assaulted her when she was 17. And recorded them having sex. A former radio intern said Kelly invited her to Chicago for an interview, but was held hostage for several days. She said she was abused by the singer after she passed out. Prosecutors called Kelly a “predator” who used his fame to groom and exploit the girls. But the defense said relations were consensual, calling the accusers “groupies”.
This is the most publicized case to come after the first Me Too era. And one in which most of the victims are black women. Gloria Allred – a famous women’s rights lawyer who represented three of the survivors – said “of all the predators I have pursued, Mr. Kelly is the worst.” But Kelly’s attorney said the singer didn’t expect the outcome. And consider a call. Kelly’s conviction is scheduled for May 2022. He faces 10 years in prison for life. But her time in court may not be over yet. Kelly faces federal charges in Chicago, as well as state charges in Illinois and Minnesota. It is not known how his conviction will affect these cases.
There have been almost 30 years of allegations against Kelly. But now the victims are starting to get the justice they deserve. And while movements like #MeToo expose high profile abusers, it takes even longer for the voices of black and brunette women to be heard – and taken seriously. In other words, there is still a lot of work to be done.
PS. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline here or by calling 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
What’s looking at the clock …
Congress. Yesterday Senate Republicans blocked a bill to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. Meaning: Lawmakers have until midnight Thursday to come to an agreement or the government will shut down. A move that could leave hundreds of thousands of federal workers without pay. Moreover, if the debt ceiling is not raised, the United States could for the first time in its history default on its payments. But Republicans say “that sounds like Democrats’ problem.” And push the Democrats to understand it within their own party. Even though both parties have contributed to the national debt. Now Democrats may be forced to pass a short-term funding bill. And come back to suspending the debt limit later. Either way, time is running out for both.
No more deadlines: Biden’s agenda enters a high-stakes week. On Thursday, the House is also expected to vote on the $ 1,000 billion bipartisan infrastructure plan – focused on updating US roads and bridges. But to be determined on the separate “human infrastructure bill” (aka the $ 3.5 trillion climate and social welfare bill). Dems are divided on its price. And are still in negotiations.
What triggers the alarm …
The homicide rate in the United States. Yesterday, the FBI revealed that the number of murders in the United States increased by almost 30% last year. This is the biggest increase on record. And while the reasons for the spike are unclear, it is happening across the country, including cities like Albuquerque, Milwaukee, and Des Moines. Some experts believe the social and economic effects of the pandemic (think: isolation and high unemployment) and an increase in gun purchases have played a role.
Where there is pain at the pump …
Great Britain. Over the weekend, thousands of gas stations ran out of fuel amid fears of a nationwide shortage. (Cue: flashbacks in spring in the United States). Why? Because of a lot of things. But one of the main reasons seems to be Brexit. When the UK decided to say goodbye to the EU, lorry drivers (aka long distance truckers) also decided to leave the UK. Add COVID-19 and an aging workforce to the mix, and the UK was left with a shortage of around 100,000 drivers. Last week, BP reportedly announced the closure of a handful of gas stations due to labor shortages. Which, in turn, triggered panic and fear among British drivers, who rushed to refuel. Now, all of this has prompted the UK to try and allay the concerns. And it offers temporary visas to foreign truckers.
When someone asks you what day it is …
Tell them about National Voter Registration Day today. While this may not be a “big” election year, there are national and local races taking place across the country. And you can’t vote if you’re not registered. Our guide has you covered with everything you need to check your status. Also, what if you have moved, changed your name … or lost your driver’s license (you went).
Who said ‘I’ll do another round’ …
President Biden. Yesterday he rolled up his sleeve for his Pfizer booster (and the camera). It came a few days after the CDC recommended the third dose for people 65 and older. Big flex.
When you are fed up political speech…
One egg is enough.
Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, Kamini Ramdeen and Clem Robineau