Nicki Minaj's brother sentenced to 25 years to life in child rape case, officials say

Posted at 1:52 PM, Jan 27, 2020

NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. -- A Long Island judge sentenced Nicki Minaj's brother to 25 years to life in prison Monday, over two years after he was convicted in a child rape case, officials confirmed to WPIX.

The Nassau County District Attorney confirmed that Judge Robert McDonald handed down the sentence to Jelani Maraj Monday morning in a New York court.

Maraj was convicted of predatory sexual assault in November 2017 after being charged with repeatedly raping an 11-year-old girl at his Long Island home.

At the time of his conviction, Maraj's lawyers said he planned to appeal. He contended the rape allegations were concocted by the girl's mother as part of a scheme to get Nicki Minaj to pay the family $25 million in hush money, a claim prosecutors called absurd.

The girl's mother denied that the accusations were made up.

James R. Ray III, a civil attorney who briefly represented the mother, testified that he himself did demand $25 million from Jelani Maraj after he had already been arrested to settle a potential lawsuit, but he said the girl's mother was unaware of the demand.

"She was never involved as far as what we did," he testified.

The woman later fired him as her attorney.

The girl, who was 14 at the time of the trial, testified in excruciating detail about sexual assaults that she said occurred as frequently as four times a week and sometimes twice a day, mostly when Maraj was home alone with the girl.

Prosecutors said at the time that DNA evidence recovered from the girl's pajama pants was linked to Maraj. The girl's younger brother also testified at the trial that he witnessed one assault.

Neither Maraj nor his famous sister testified at the trial.

This story was originally published by Mark Sundstrom at WPIX with contributions from the Associated Press.