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Nicki Minaj's Brother, Jelani Maraj, Was Convicted Of Raping His 11-Year-Old Stepdaughter

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Nicki Minaj's Brother, Jelani Maraj, Was Convicted Of Raping His 11-Year-Old Stepdaughter

In December 2018, Nicki Minaj threatened to sue Daily Mail TV newscaster and former NFL player Jesse Palmer, claiming he “lied” about her supporting her brother. The man Palmer was referring to in his news segment is Jelani Maraj.

Who is Nicki Minaj’s brother, Jelani Maraj?

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In the video, Palmer also referenced Minaj’s relationship with Kenneth “Zoo” Petty, who happens to be a registered sex offender. 

“This isn’t the first time that Nicki Minaj has defended a sex offender,” he said. “Remember, she supported her brother Jelani Maraj two years ago when he was found guilty of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.”

That statement didn’t sit well with Minaj, who took to her social media channels to announce she was going to sue Palmer for defamation. “You just lied on me on nat’l TV & now you’re being sued,” Minaj wrote on Instagram. “You better be able to back up what you just said about me with FACTS.”

However, now that Maraj has been officially sentenced, we wonder whether or not Minaj really supported him.

Who is Jelani Maraj? Here are the details about his conviction, his sentencing, and his relationship with Minaj.

1. Who is Nicki Minaj's brother? Jelani Maraj was charged with rape in 2015.

A source revealed that the victim was 12 years old, and court records revealed Maraj was charged with first-degree rape and first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child.

Maraj denied the claims against him, and his lawyer suggested they were a ploy to get money from Minaj.

“The victim’s family tried to shake her [Minaj] down for $25 million,” he said. “It was all part of a plot. They made up these lies. They wanted to make [the charges] go away for $25 million.”

2. Maraj’s stepdaughter was the victim.

Maraj’s case went to trial in 2017. During the trial, Maraj’s stepdaughter took the stand to describe the disturbing attacks.

"He would call me his puppet and told me I had no say in what he did to me. He had mentioned that... I wanted it to happen... He told me I couldn't tell anyone, that I couldn't tell my mother,” she testified.

According to the victim, the attacks began in early 2015, before Maraj married the victim’s mother later that year.

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3. Maraj was found guilty in 2017.

Maraj’s trial lasted over a month and resulted in a conviction. “Justice demanded that this defendant be held accountable for these heinous acts and we are thankful to the jury for their careful deliberation,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement. “We hope that today’s verdict will help the family in the healing process and that it will close this terrible chapter in their lives.”

However, in October 2018, the judge that presided over Maraj’s case ordered a juror misconduct inquiry after it was revealed the jurors may have been biased against Maraj. “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 the ruling.

An alternate juror alleged a juror on the case claimed they’d find Maraj guilty if his sister, Minaj, didn’t testify. "For a high profile case such as this, in my opinion, why didn't Nassau County put these jurors away, sequestered somewhere so that a child's father, a mother's son would get a fair trial?" asked Maraj and Minaj’s mother in an interview.

4. Minaj never publicly supported her brother.

Despite Palmer’s claims that Minaj had “defended” two convicted sexual predators, Minaj never publicly came out in support of her brother.

While the rapper visited her brother in prison in 2017, sources said at the time that she made a trip to the prison only to support her mom. Minaj hasn’t been close with her brother since reports of the rape surfaced in 2015.

Minaj also never testified in the trial. And sources close to the rapper revealed that she wouldn't have any involvement in the case at all. 

5. A judge refused to overturn his case.

In October 2019, Nassau Supreme Court judge Robert McDonald denied Maraj's bid to overturn his rape conviction. Maraj faced life in prison on charges of predatory assault of a child. His sentencing was scheduled for November 18th, 2019. 

6. Maraj was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

On January 27th, Maraj was sentenced in a New York court. He was found guilty of predatory sexual assault of a child and endangering the welfare of a child. He will spend 25 years to life in prison.

The Nassau County D.A. made a statement about the final verdict, saying, "We hope that today's verdict will help the family in the healing process." 

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Micki Spollen is a YourTango editor and entertainment news writer. She also runs the travel blog Where In The World Is My Drink.