Rapper Nicki Minaj's brother has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for repeatedly raping his young stepdaughter, with the abuse beginning when she was just 11-years-old.
Jelani Maraj, 41 - who is the older brother of the “Anaconda” hitmaker - was sentenced in a court in Long Island, New York, on Monday, with State Supreme Court Justice Robert McDonald making the final decision on his jail time.
At a minimum, he will serve 25 years for predatory sexual assault on a child younger than 13 years old and endangering the welfare of a child.
The sentencing comes two years after he was convicted for raping the 11-year-old daughter of his wife, Jacqueline Maraj (née Robinson), following his first arrest in connection with the case back in early December 2015.
During his 2017 trial, the defence argued that the allegations were fabricated by Jaqueline in an attempt to extort USD$25 million from Nicki - whose real name is Onika Maraj - and it is believed his sentencing was delayed due to post-trial motions submitted by his legal team.
Prosecutors presented evidence at the trial showing Jelani began abusing the victim when she was 11 and raped her repeatedly between April and November 2015 while her mother was working.
The girl - who cannot be named for legal reasons - testified that Jelani called her “his puppet” and said she had “no say” in the things that were being done to her. She also testified that if she refused his advances, he would physically attack her.
According to Jelani’s lawyer, David Shwartz, he will appeal the ‘excessive sentence’.
“We will be appealing this excessive sentence. There was clear juror misconduct amongst other issues,” Shwartz told Pitchfork in a statement.
Nicki has never commented publicly on her older brother’s case and did not testify at his trial.
She married childhood friend Kenneth ‘Zoo’ Petty in October 2018 after dating for less than a year, with Petty’s criminal record raising eyebrows.
He is a registered sex offender in the state of New York and was convicted of attempted rape in 1995. After serving prison time on that conviction, TMZ reported he was convicted on manslaughter charges in 2002 and served seven years in prison.
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