Jury Misconduct Arises In Rape Case Of Nicki Minaj's Brother
New allegations of juror misconduct have surfaced in the rape case of Jelani Maraj.
Nicki Minaj’s brother, Jelani Maraj, was found guilty of predatory assault on a child coupled with child endangerment charges in November 2017. Although he is facing a life sentence, Minaj hasn’t had a say in the case but has allegedly visited him in jail the day after the verdict.
Now, reports are surfacing of a possible juror misconduct in the case due to a slew of instances where the jurors may have been found unlawful. According to Newsday, State Supreme Court Justice Robert McDonald has ordered an inquiry on juror misconduct in the case; these new allegations were brought up by the 39-year-old’s defense team.
McDonald reportedly scheduled a hearing for November 15 for jurors and alternate jurors to address allegations one juror made in a defense affidavit. “There is a need for the Court to conduct a hearing to determine the nature of the material placed before the jury and whether that material created a substantial risk of prejudice to the defendant,” the judge wrote in a statement on his Oct. 18 ruling.
The allegations on the affidavit include claims of a juror saying if Nicki Minaj didn’t show up to court to testify, that meant Maraj was guilty. Other accusations cited the media’s interference with the case—meaning that some jurors read news blog posts and watched The Wendy Williams Show, in which the host said Maraj was guilty and publicly berated him. These particular allegations were described as "hearsay allegations.”
Other accusations alleged that some of the jurors discussed the case, and said things like, “I can’t wait for him to be found guilty.” The victim claimed she was repeatedly raped since the age of 11 and was told by Maraj that she had “no say” in what he did to her. Also, he allegedly called her “his puppet.”
Maraj’s verdict was followed by a trial from his defense team stating that the allegations were invented to try to extort $25 million from the Queen rapper. Still, the defense also attempted to allege prosecutorial misconduct, but McDonald found that “notwithstanding some possible improprieties on the part of the prosecutor,” and that the evidence was “more than legally sufficient,” to prove Maraj’s guilt.