Jelani Maraj, the older brother of rap star Nicki Minaj, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Monday after being convicted of repeatedly sexually assaulting his former stepdaughter.
The Nassau County District Attorney confirmed that Judge Robert McDonald sentenced Jelani Maraj on Monday morning in Long Island, NYC, according to TMZ.
The sentence comes after he was convicted in 2017 on charges of child sexual assault and endangering a minor, according to Fox News.
Maraj sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl
Maraj, 41, was found guilty of sexually abusing his former stepdaughter when she was only a child. The child testified that Maraj sexually assaulted her multiple times, starting in April 2015 when she was only 11 years old.
Maraj was married to the child’s mother at the time, and the young girl said the assaults took place while her mother was at work. The child also said that the incidents caused her to suffer anxiety and that she had suicidal thoughts.
When the victim’s eight-year-old brother discovered what was happening, Maraj reportedly warned the children not to talk about it and threatened to have them taken away from their mother if they did.
But the boy eventually reported the assault to a child protection worker, and Maraj was arrested in December 2015.
Although Maraj’s defense had previously said that Nicki Minaj would testify in the trial, she did not appear. She instead wrote a letter pleading for a reduction of her brother’s sentence. In the letter, she described her brother as the “most patient, gentle, genuine, giving selfless man I know.”
Maraj also pleaded for leniency, saying that he was sorry and that he suffered from “an excessive drinking problem.”
But the judge rejected the pleas for leniency and sentenced Maraj to 25 years to life in prison.
Pitchfork reported that Maraj’s lawyer, David Schwartz, said his client would appeal the sentence. He described the sentence as “excessive” and alleged “juror misconduct.”
Who is Jelani Maraj?
Jelani and Nicki suffered a traumatic childhood due to their father, who reportedly had alcohol and drug issues. He was also abusive and suffered fits of violent temper.
Their mother moved to New York City and the siblings later joined their mother in Queens.
Jelani and Nicki were very close. She reportedly paid $30,000 for Maraj’s wedding to Jacqueline, the mother of his sexual assault victim, in 2015, according to the Daily Mail.
She also paid the $100,000 bail when Jelani was arrested on charges of sexual assault in December 2015.