Nicki Minaj’s brother Jelani Maraj has been found guilty of raping an 11-year-old girl at his home in Baldwin, New York.
The Long Island newspaper Newsday reports that jurors convicted Maraj, 38, in Nassau County Court on Thursday, November 9, on a felony charge of predatory sexual assault on a child and endangering the welfare of a child. Maraj reportedly showed no emotion when the verdict was read. He will be held without bail in Nassau County Correctional Center in East Meadow, New York.
Maraj, who is facing 25 years to life in prison, plans to appeal, according to his lawyer David Schwartz.
The girl, now 14, testified that her then-stepfather Maraj repeatedly sexually assaulted her between April and November 2015 while her mother was at work. The defense claimed that the allegations were made up in an attempt to extort $25 million from Maraj’s famous sister, which his ex-wife denied.
Newsday reports that the girl’s brother, now 10, also testified, claiming he once saw Maraj’s “private parts” touching his sister. The boy told jurors that Maraj allegedly slapped him several times across the face after the incident and told him he would never see his mother again if he repeated what he had witnessed.
Prosecutors said DNA evidence supported the allegations. A scientist testified that a stain on a pair of the victim’s pajama pants contained semen that was a 1 in 291 billion match to Maraj, but the defense argued that the pants may have been cross-contaminated with other laundry.
Minaj, 34, did not testify and has yet to address her brother’s conviction.