Jelani Maraj is headed to trial in a child rape case that could send Nicki Minaj’s brother to prison for life. Maraj was offered a plea deal but turned down the district attorney’s offer of 15 years to life and opted instead to try his luck in a drawn out jury trial. Maraj is accused of raping a 12-year old girl multiple times over a several month period.
Prior to Maraj’s indictment on the shocking child rape charges, The Boombox reported that the district attorney offered Nicki Minaj’s brother a plea deal that would have put him away for seven years in exchange for a guilty plea for “course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree.” Jelani Maraj rejected that deal, which led to the latest offer of 15 years to life for “predatory assault of a child.” Jelani has rejected that offer as well and now is getting ready to stand trial. A guilty verdict could cost Maraj a lifetime in prison.
Along with Jelani Maraj, his attorney David Schwartz insists that his client is innocent of the child rape charges. In a statement to Bossip, Schwartz said, “He is choosing to go to trial because he is not guilty of these allegations and has faith in our system of justice.”
Maraj is maintaining his innocence even though the state has evidence in their possession that Nicki Minaj’s brother’s semen was found on his accuser’s clothing. The overwhelming evidence against Maraj is likely why the DA’s plea deals have become less appealing to him, jumping from a seven-year sentence to an offer of 15-years to life. Maraj’s attorney says that he passed on the plea deals because he doesn’t want to serve any time for a crime that he still denies committing.
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On the other hand, going to trial might actually work out for Jelani Maraj despite an overwhelming amount of evidence against him. In a trial, Maraj’s 12-year old accuser may be forced to take the stand and testify against him. Maraj’s legal team has asserted that they have evidence to indicate that his accuser was having sex with an older man but that it was not Nicki Minaj’s brother. They also have claimed that the accuser has a history of communicating with and possibly being intimate with other older males according to a statement printed by the Daily Mail.
“Our firm has a good faith basis to believe that the complainant in this case has had intimate physical contact with a man who is not the defendant in this case and who is older than 17 years of age and who may have caused there to be physical evidence of repeated vaginal and anal penetration of the complainant.”
The defense has still never offered up an answer as to how Jelani Maraj’s semen made it’s way to his accuser’s clothing. It is also worth noting that prosecutors are claiming that Jelani had access to the girl multiple times from April through November 30, 2015, the time period that he has been accused of repeatedly raping and sodomizing the girl.
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In addition to Jelani Maraj’s puzzling refusal to take a plea deal, he has also had an interesting history with his defense team. Minaj’s brother reportedly fired the law firm that was previously defending him, Brafman and Associates, back in November. After that, Maraj hired his new attorney, David Schwartz, who specializes in sex crime cases and added a private investigator to his team as well.
Since it is unknown how Jelani Maraj would afford his own legal defense, it has been suggested that Nicki Minaj is probably bankrolling his lawyers and private investigator for him. Nicki also paid $30,000 for Jelani’s wedding in 2015. Understandably, the marriage didn’t work out and Maraj’s wife Jacqueline Robinson divorced him just days before their one year anniversary. While Robinson has never publicly commented on the rape charges against Maraj, she did initially post bail for him while they were still married. However, it looks like Nicki is the real MVP there too, having put up two of her New York houses as collateral in order to post bond for her older brother.
[Featured Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]