Nicki Minaj’s Brother Has Hearing About Jury Misconduct in Rape Conviction, Still Faces Life in Prison
According to a Newsday report, State Supreme Court Justice Robert McDonald denied Maraj's request to set aside the jury's verdict. In November 2017, a jury convicted Maraj of sexually assaulting his now-former stepdaughter.
Prosecutors alleged that Maraj began sexually abusing the victim at 11 years old and repeatedly raped her between April and November 2015. Defense attorneys for Maraj argued that the allegations were fabricated in an attempt to extort $25 million from the defendant's famous sister.
Maraj's trial attorney, David Schwartz, told Newsday that the verdict should be vacated because "there was clear jury misconduct." He believed that "outside influences," including social media posts and news articles, "affected the verdict."
But Judge McDonald disagreed and reportedly determined that "not every misstep by a juror rises to the inherent and prejudicial level at which reversal is required." He also added that Maraj failed to meet the burden of proof that any misconduct occurred during the trial.
After the judge's ruling, Maraj's mother, Carol Maraj, called the decision "unfair."
"The jurors admitted that they were swayed by TV, radio, the bloggers... listening to what the comments were," Carol Maraj told Newsday. "Can you tell me why juror misconduct was not proven today?... This is ridiculous."
Jelani Maraj is now facing life in prison following his convictions on charges of predatory sexual assault on a child and child endangerment. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18.
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