Jelani Maraj, the older brother of Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj, has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison on Monday (Jan. 27) for raping his stepdaughter.
Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Robert McDonald, while handing down the sentence, blasted the elder Maraj for ruining the now-14-year-old girl’s innocence.
Maraj was married to the child’s mother when the abuse began in the Baldwin, New York family home and continued over a period of eight months. The victim’s brother witnessed Maraj assaulting his sister and later notified school officials.
He was arrested in 2015 and found guilty of repeatedly sexually assaulting the girl by jurors two years later.
According to Page Six, Maraj ironically pleaded for mercy at his sentencing, though he maintained that he was innocent of the charges.
“I’d like to apologize for the pain that I caused. I had an excessive drinking problem,” he said, adding that he’s “just asking for mercy from the court.”
Judge McDonald was having none of his pandering for sympathy – chastising Maraj for sexually abusing the girl, as it was in his “view is that you ruined this child”
“You raped this child. You raped her over and over again,” McDonald said.
Right up until the sentencing, a stoic, remorseless Maraj denied the allegations, claiming the story was ‘fabricated to extort his famous sister’.
After the sentencing, David Schwartz, the defence attorney, said his client plans to appeal. A previous attempt in 2017 to overturn the case was thrown out.
Minaj was not present at court today, however, both of Maraj’s parents were present and left shortly after the sentencing.