NEW YORK >> The brother of rapper Nicki Minaj was sentenced to 25 years to life on Monday in Long Island for raping his stepdaughter.
Jelani Maraj was convicted in 2017 in Nassau County Court of repeatedly raping his then 11-year-old stepdaughter.
“She was 11 years old and you did this,” State Supreme Court Justice Robert McDonald told Maraj in Nassau County Court, Newsday reported.
The judge then turned to the victim, who was present in the courtroom.
“I sat there and I believed every word you said,” he said of her trial testimony.
The girl testified at the three-week trial that Maraj anally raped her and slapped her in the face at their Baldwin home before telling her to keep quite about his actions.
“He would call me his puppet and told me I had no say in what he did to me,” she testified in October of that year, saying Maraj sexually abused her multiple times.
The girl — who was 14 when she gave her testimony — said the first assault took place in April 2015 in Maraj’s bedroom.
“He told me to take off my pants. … He told me to come under the covers with him, and he started to caress my back,” she said. “He took off his boxers. … after that, we had sex.”
She testified the abuse continued for months, even after her brother walked in on Maraj assaulting her.
“I was on my forearms on the bed and my pants were pulled down,” she told the courtroom.
The victim said she asked her then 8-year-old brother not to tell their mother.
Maraj denied the allegations, claiming the child sex abuse charges were a shakedown by his then wife, who allegedly sought $25 million in hush money.
A forensic geneticist testified at the trial that she found a “mixture” of DNA on the girl’s pajama bottoms when they were tested in 2015. There was male DNA found, she said.
Maraj’s attorney appealed conviction in 2018, claiming that there was jury misconduct, Newsday reported.
McDonald had ordered an inquiry into claims that an alternate juror said during the trial that if the defendant’s famous sister did not testify Maraj must be guilty.
McDonald ruled in October 2019 that the defense did not meet the “burden of proof that any misconduct here created a significant risk that a substantial right of the defendant was prejudiced,” Newsday reported.
Maraj’s lawyer David Schwartz, said Monday that he plans to appeal the judge’s decision.
“We will be appealing this excessive sentence,” he told Pitchfork. “There was clear juror misconduct amongst other issues.”
Maraj’s mother, Carol Minaj, said she’s confident her son will come out on top.
“He’s going to win in the appeal,” she told Newsday outside of the courthouse.