AceShowbiz - Nicki Minaj's brother Jelani Maraj, 38, has been convicted of rape. After a three-week trial with shocking testimony from the victim about the horrid abuse and more than two days of jury deliberation, he is found guilty of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter.
Jelani looked stoic. He didn't show any emotion when the verdict was handed down on Thursday, November 9 in a Long Island court. He was indicted on predatory sexual assault against a child and endangering the welfare of a child. He is facing 15 years to life in prison.
Jelani was arrested on December 1, 2015 on allegations that he repeatedly abused his stepdaughter who was only 11 back then. He first attacked her in April 2015, four months before he married the girl's mother in a $30,000 wedding which was paid for by Nicki, his famous sister.
He allegedly raped the young girl four times a week and sometimes twice a day when they were home alone. The girl, now 14, testified that he also forced her to do anal sex, slapped her, and warned her not to tell anyone. He was exposed after the girl's younger brother caught him red-handed.
The girl's brother was only 8 back then. The boy testified that he was beaten by Jelani after witnessing his vile act. "He asked me if I had seen anything. I said, 'Yes,' " the boy told the jury. "Jelani said I wouldn't see her again if I told on him. His face was kind of mad."
A prosecution witness said that semen was indeed found in the girl's pajama pants and it was a one-in-291 billion match with Jelani. However, defense lawyer David Schwartz claimed that the DNA was planted by the girl's mother in an attempted extortion. "It's about money and it's about revenge," the attorney argued.
The girl's mother denied the accusations. Lawyer James R. Ray III testified that he did ask for $25 million from Jelani to make the lawsuit go away but the girl's mother was unaware of the demand. "She was never involved as far as what we did," he admitted. He was later fired by the girl's mother.
Nicki Minaj, who posted her brother's $100,000 bail back in 2015, did not testify during the trial despite numerous reports suggesting otherwise. She also kept mum on her brother's conviction. His legal team planned to appeal the guilty verdict.