Jelani Maraj, the older brother of rap star Nicki Minaj, was just charged with first-degree rape. The story was first reported by Newsday and later confirmed by TMZ. Minaj, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, is said to be really close to her sibling. The star even shelled out $30,000 for his wedding, which took place just a few months ago.
That her brother could be charged with rape is no doubt jarring news for the rap artist. Unfortunately for Minaj, the scandal only gets much worse: It turns out the rape charge against Nicki’s brother involves a 12-year-old girl.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 5, 2015
New York Daily News writes that 37-year-old Maraj, who lives in Baldwin, N.Y., stands accused of having sexual intercourse with a preteen girl on November 30 at 6:30 p.m.; the incident was said to have taken place in Long Island, N.Y.
Maraj was taken into custody by Nassau County officials and arraigned on Thursday. He was later freed from jail after paying the $100,000 bail.
The Nassau district attorney’s office has declined to offer an official comment on the case and, Newsday reports, that includes exactly how the situation first came to the attention of law enforcement officials.The story was apparently leaked to the press by an anonymous source who is “close to the case.” The source claimed the victim was “someone [Nicki Minaj’s brother] had access to.”
That is a very chilling statement as it implies the 12-year-old would likely be a family member, family friend’s child, or even a young relative of his wife. It’s worth noting that neighbors claim that Jelani and new wife Jacqueline Robinson are raising a girl in their home who is said to be close to 12 years of age. Despite the possible connection, it has yet to be confirmed if this child is the alleged victim.
It would certainly explain the statement that the girl was someone he had “access” to. Also living in the home is an 8-year-old boy. It’s not clear at present if these children are biologically related to the suspect or if they are step-children.
Nassau County officials are keeping the identity of the alleged victim a secret, not surprising since the nature of the crime and her very young age typically prevents the court system from making that information public.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 4, 2015
The suspect previously made headlines for happier reasons. Jelani Maraj married long-time girlfriend Jacqueline on August 22, of this year. In attendance was his younger sister Nicki Minaj. In addition to helping pay for the wedding, Minaj reportedly wore a stunning red Alexander McQueen gown to the event. She later posted photos of the wedding on her Instagram account. Nicki also wrote heartfelt messages about her big brother following his big day.
“I love my brother so much man. Can’t believe I cried during his wedding and his first dance like a punk.”
Months later, the brother that Nicki Minaj loves and looks up to is caught up in a rather ugly situation. There’s been no official response from the 32-year-old rap star, nor anything posted to her official Twitter or Facebook accounts addressing her brother’s arrest. The only thing being discussed at present is how Nicki has managed to garner over 40 million followers on Instagram.
It’s highly possible that a statement from Minaj could be coming soon, but it’s just as possible that she won’t speak about the horrible and highly personal nature of this case.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 4, 2015
The accusation is very surprising to those who know Minaj’s brother and wife. One 73-year-old neighbor explained to the New York Daily News how “shocked” he was.
“I was upstairs in the office. My wife called and she says, ‘You’ll never believe what I just heard on the news.'”
Jelani Maraj is expected to appear in court on December 9, a day after Nicki Minaj celebrates her birthday.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]