Nicki Minaj‘s brother has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in a New York prison for repeatedly raping his 11-year-old stepdaughter while her mother was at work.
Judge Robert McDonald sentenced 41-year-old Jelani Maraj on Monday in a New York court, several months after the verdict been reached.
TMZ had earlier reported that Maraj was found guilty of predatory sexual assault against a child and endangering the welfare of a child in 2017. At the time of the verdict, the Nassau County D.A. said; “We hope that today’s verdict will help the family in the healing process.”
The sentence came despite Maraj’s lawyer reading a 2016 letter his famous sister wrote in a bid to reduce his time behind bars, calling him the ‘most patient, gentle, genuine, giving selfless man I know’.
The judge said that his ‘view is that you ruined this child’. ‘You raped this child. You raped her over and over again,’ the judge added.
Maraj’s long sentence was for sexual assault but he was also sentenced to 364 days for the endangerment of a child, Dailymail reported. He had been held in custody, awaiting sentencing, since he was found guilty of the felony following a three-week trial.
The victim, now 14, testified in excruciating detail about sexual assaults that she said occurred as frequently as four times a week and sometimes twice a day.
She told the court she had become suicidal over the abuse.
‘I didn’t think I could make it through the day without an anxiety attack.’ she said. ‘I felt I had no voice,’ the victim, who is now his former stepdaughter, said Monday.
The victim said the abuse started in April 2015 and continued until that November.
‘I had went to him to go say “Good morning”. I had hugged him as usual. I went to go lie next to him as I usually do. When I did that, he told me to go close the door,’ she told the court. ‘He told me to take off my pants. Then he told me to come under the covers with him and he started caressing me… We would have sex in his bedroom, in my bedroom, in the basement.’
The victim’s younger brother testified at the trial that he witnessed one assault when he was just eight years old.
Maraj threatened to have their mother sent away if they told anyone.
‘I thought he would send me away from my mother. … That’s what he said would actually happen. So I didn’t say anything,’ the victim testified.
She added they were told to ‘keep quiet or Jelani would hit us or we would get sent away because Jelani would deny it’.
But the boy reported it to a school administrator he saw Maraj touching his sister while they were partially clothed.
He was arrested December 2015.
According to Dailymail, Nicki Minaj paid her brother’s $100,000 bail back when he was first arrested for the crime in 2015 when the siblings were reportedly quite close, however, sources said the two grew apart following the convictions.
Jelani Maraj maintained innocence and was stoic in the Long Island court room Monday. He told the court: ‘I’d like to apologize for the pain that I caused. I had an excessive drinking problem.
Maraj added that he’s ‘just asking for mercy from the court’.
His lawyer David Schwartz said he plans to appeal.
‘We will be appealing this excessive sentence,’ he told Pitchfork. ‘There was clear juror misconduct amongst other issues.’ Schwartz did not elaborate on the issues.
Neither Maraj nor his famous sister testified at the trial, even though during opening arguments defense lawyers said that the rapper was on the witness list.
Dailymail reported that Jelani Maraj’s father had an alcohol and drugs problem and burned down the family’s Trinidad and Tobago home in 1987, prompting Maraj’s mother to move to New York City and Maraj followed when he was 10.