Jelani Maraj, the brother of rapper Nicki Minaj, faces life in prison over charges of predatory sexual assault on a child. Prosecutors say the 38-year-old repeatedly raped a sixth-grade girl – his stepdaughter – during an eight-month period in 2015.
The defense maintains the charges are based on lies made up by the alleged victim’s mother in an attempt to extort $25 million from Minaj.
Maraj’s attorney sought a mistrial, which was denied by state Supreme Court Justice Robert McDonald Tuesday. This came after protests that the defense was not allowed to confront a 10-year-old witness Monday with questions about a settlement agreement.
In related news, despite reports that Minaj may testify in the trial, the musician will not do so, according to a TMZ report. The article quoted sources close to Minaj who said she never planned to take the stand. The news outlet reported reaching out to Jelani’s attorney regarding the matter and being told by him, “I have no idea, we’ll see.”
One person who did testify Tuesday in the Nassau County Supreme Court was the brother of the alleged victim. The boy, now 10 years old, said he walked in on the rape of his sister and knew what he witnessed “wasn’t right.” He was threatened to keep quiet about it, jurors heard Monday.
The boy appeared in court wearing a tuxedo and holding a yellow, star-shaped toy. He told the story that he was looking for his sister because his pencil broke and he wanted a new one. He testified that he walked in on Maraj and the alleged victim who both had their pants down. He ran upstairs and was later slapped and threatened by Maraj not to tell anyone what he had seen, he testified.
In the court case, the defense maintains the allegations were fabricated by the children’s mother, Jacqueline Robinson, in an effort to extort $25 million from Minaj. “Why would [Robinson] lie and force her children to lie? I can give you 25 million reasons why,” defense lawyer David Schwartz told jurors.