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's sentenced Dec. 14. Maraj, 38, didn't appear to react when the verdict was read in a Nassau County courtroom, and he was led away in handcuffs after bail was revoked following his conviction, the AP reports. His lawyer says he'll appeal, contending 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. "The amount of evidence we have that wasn't allowed in this case is unbelievable," David Schwartz said.
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 her. 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. The girl's mother denied that the accusations were made up. A civil attorney who briefly represented the mother testified he did demand $25 million from Maraj after he'd already been arrested to settle a potential lawsuit, but he said the girl's mother was unaware of the demand. The woman later fired him as her attorney. Neither Maraj nor his sister testified at the trial. A rep for Minaj's record label didn't respond to an email seeking comment on the case.
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