Nicki Minaj’s older brother Jelani Maraj has been convicted of predatory sexual assault of a child younger than 13 years old, it has been confirmed.
Maraj had consistently denied the allegations, but a jury convicted him of endangering the welfare of a child and of predatory sexual assault on a child younger than 13 at a court in Nassau County, New York, the DA’s spokesperson Brendon Brosh told People magazine.
He was arrested in connection with the case back in December 2015. In the trial, which lasted for over a month before coming to a conclusion on Thursday (November 10th), Maraj argued that the allegations were fabricated as part of an extortion attempt to get $25 million from his famous sister.
However, the 38 year old now faces 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced at a hearing in December.
Maraj’s attorney in the case, David Schwartz, has not yet responded to the verdict, so it is not yet known whether his client intends to launch an appeal.
“Justice demanded that this defendant be held accountable for these heinous acts and we are thankful to the jury for their careful deliberation,” said Nassau County’s DA Madeline Singas in a statement. “We hope that today’s verdict will help the family in the healing process and that it will close this terrible chapter in their lives.”
Prosecutors alleged during the trial that Maraj started abusing the victim when she was 11 years old, and raped her repeatedly between April and November 2015 while her mother was at work. The girl, who is now 14, testified in court that Maraj called her “his puppet” and said she had “no say” in the abuse inflicted on her. She was beaten if resisted, according to Brosh.
Maraj’s lawyers argued in defence that the girl’s mother coerced her physically into going along with the claims, which were part of an attempted financial shakedown of Nicki Minaj.