On Monday morning, the fate of Nicki Minaj’s brother, Jelani Maraj, was determined, nearly three years after he was convicted of sexually assaulting his former stepdaughter in their home.
Back in 2017, after a longstanding trial, Maraj was convicted of predatory sexual assault against a child and endangering the welfare of a child. During the trial, the victim testified that Maraj raped her repeatedly between April and November 2015, while her mother was out of the house. But, Maraj’s attorney’s argued that the allegations were part of a $25 million plot to extort his famous sister, in which the girl’s mother forced both her and her brother to go along with the alleged lies.
Despite the defense’s claim, the brother’s account of the incident, in which he witnessed Maraj touching his sister in 2015, helped seal the deal for prosecution. Now, just five years after his arrest and two after his conviction, Maraj has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Prior to sentencing, Maraj defense read a character letter from his sister, Minaj, which explained that her brother was her “hero” who saved their mother from domestic violence, Bossip reports.
“He is the most patient gentle genuine selfless man I know,” Minaj reportedly said in the letter. “He has been my hero.”
Maraj also defended himself and apologized for all the hurt he caused over the last few years, saying, “I’d like to apologize for the pain i’ve caused. I had an excessive drinking problem. I put myself and the children in a dangerous position. I’m sorry. I’m just asking for mercy. I would ask for a second chance to be productive in society.”
But on the other hand, the victim and her family revealed the turmoil the entire ordeal caused and asked for a penalty that would allow them to heal. Although the judge ruled in favor of the victim, Maraj’s mother, Carol, revealed their plans to appeal.
“We believe in God for the appeal,” she said. “Success and favor. He’s going to win in the appeal.”