LATEST NEWS
 Top Stories
 U.S.
  Severe Weather
  Bird Flu
 World
  Castro
  Mideast Crisis
  Iraq
 Business
 Personal Finance
 Technology
 Sports
  Sports Columns
  NASCAR
  Baseball
  College Hoops
  NBA
  NHL
  Tennis
  Golf
 Entertainment
 Health
 Science
 Politics
 Washington
 Offbeat
 Podcasts
 Blogs
 Weather
 Raw News
 NEWS SEARCH
 
 Archive Search
 SPECIAL SECTIONS
 Multimedia Gallery
 AP Video Network
 Today
 in History
 Corrections
Nov 9, 4:04 PM EST

Nicki Minaj's brother convicted in rape case of preteen girl



MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) -- The brother of rapper Nicki Minaj was convicted Thursday of predatory sexual assault after being charged with repeatedly raping an 11-year-old girl at his Long Island home.

Jurors delivered their verdict on the second day of deliberations in Jelani Maraj's trial. The charges carry the potential for 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 14. Maraj, 38, was led away in handcuffs after bail was revoked following his conviction.

Maraj did not appear to react when the verdict was read in a Nassau County courtroom. His lawyer said he will appeal. He contended the rape allegations were concocted by the girl's mother as part of a scheme to get Nicki Minaj to pay the family $25 million in hush money, a claim prosecutors called absurd.

"We have 50 appealable issues," David Schwartz said. "The amount of evidence we have that wasn't allowed in this case is unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it. I am shocked."

The girl, now 14, testified in excruciating detail about sexual assaults that she said occurred as frequently as four times a week and sometimes twice a day, mostly when Maraj was home alone with the girl.

Prosecutors said DNA evidence recovered from the girl's pajama pants was linked to Maraj. 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 Jelani Maraj after he had already been arrested to settle a potential lawsuit, but he said 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 sister testified at the trial.

A spokesman for Minaj's record label did not respond to an email seeking comment on the case. Minaj has been nominated for a Grammy award 10 times and won six American Music Awards.

The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault, and is not identifying the girl's mother to protect her daughter's identity.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.