Nicki Minaj’s Brother Sentenced to 25-to-Life for Sexual Assault of a Child

Jelani Maraj was convicted of raping his 11-year-old stepdaughter

Nicki Minaj's brother Jelani Maraj
(L-R) Micaiah Maraj, Carol Maraj and Jelani Maraj on April 16, 2015 in New York City.
Chance Yeh/Getty
By Bonnie Stiernberg / January 28, 2020 5:00 am

Nicki Minaj’s brother Jelani Maraj has reportedly been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for predatory sexual assault on a child younger than 13 years old. Maraj was convicted in 2017 of repeatedly raping his stepdaughter beginning when she was just 11 years old.

Maraj, 40, was also sentenced to 364 days in prison for endangering the welfare of a child. His attorney David M. Schwartz told Pitchfork he plans to appeal the sentences, saying, “We will be appealing this excessive sentence. There was clear juror misconduct amongst other issues.”

Maraj was first arrested in connection to the case in December 2015, and during his trial, his defense team unsuccessfully attempted to argue that the young victim’s claims were part of a scheme to extort $25 million from Minaj. A Nassau County judge denied Schwartz’s attempt to get the guilty verdict overturned in October 2019.

Maraj’s victim testified during his trial that he called her “his puppet” and said that if she refused his sexual advances, he would physically attack her. He allegedly raped her repeatedly between April and November of 2015.

Minaj has not commented publicly on her brother’s conviction or sentencing.

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