The brother of rapper Nicki Minaj has been convicted of predatory sexual assault after being charged with repeatedly raping an 11-year-old girl while her mum was at work.
Jelani Maraj, 38, who was found guilty by a jury yesterday, could face 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on December 14.
The victim, now aged 14, told the court that Maraj called her his “puppet” and raped her as frequently as four times a week and sometimes twice a day.
He did not appear to react when the verdict was read in a courtroom in Nassau County, New York, although his lawyer said he will appeal.
The 38-year-old claimed the rape allegations were concocted by the girl’s mother as part of a scheme to get his famous sister to pay the family $25 million in hush money.
Prosecutors said DNA evidence recovered from the girl’s pyjama pants was linked to Maraj with a 1-291 billion match.
The girl’s younger brother also testified at the trial that he witnessed one assault.
“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,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
The girl’s mother denied that the accusations were made up.
James R. Ray III, a civil attorney who briefly represented the mother, testified that he did demand $25 million from Maraj to settle a potential lawsuit.
But Ray III insists the girl’s mother was unaware of the demand.
“She was never involved as far as what we did,” he testified. The woman later fired him as her attorney.
Neither Maraj nor his famous sister testified at the trial.
A spokesman for Minaj’s record label did not respond to an email seeking comment on the case.