Nicki Minaj’s brother, Jelani Maraj, was convicted of raping his 11-year-old stepdaughter last year after weeks of trial dates and witnesses taking the stand. Almost a year later, the defense team of Jelani has aired suspicion of jury misconduct that has forced a judge to order an inquiry, Newsday reports.
“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.
The allegations detail how the alternate juror told other jurors that if Nicki Minaj did not show up to testify then Jelani was guilty. Some jurors also talked about the case against the judge’s instructions and noted how they couldn’t “wait for him to be found guilty.” Other jurors read blogs and watched The Wendy Williams show where the talk show host slammed Jelani for being guilty.
The alternate juror did not deny the latter and wrote that if anytime “someone began to discuss what just transpired in the courtroom, I or another juror would remind them that we are not supposed to talk about that and the conversation would cease.”
The defense tried to claim prosecutorial misconduct as well, but the judge found that “notwithstanding some possible improprieties on the part of the prosecutor,” evidence was “more than legally sufficient” to prove Jelani as guilty.