Nicki Minaj is supporting her embattled brother “100 per cent” as his trial for child rape gets underway in New York, according to his attorney.
Jelani Maraj has pleaded not guilty to allegations he sexually assaulted a girl of 12 for months prior to his arrest in December, 2015.
He was subsequently charged with three counts, but on Tuesday, the judge overseeing the case agreed to drop one lesser felony count at the request of the prosecution.
Maraj, 38, still faces a felony second-degree course of sexual conduct and a misdemeanor count of acting in a manner likely to injure a child.
Jury selection in the case got underway in Nassau County Court in Long Island on Wednesday.
The trial is expected to last for up to three weeks, and if convicted of the felony, he could be placed behind bars for life.
However, his attorney is confident Maraj’s name will be cleared.
Addressing the charges his client faces, David Schwartz told Newsday, “These are a bunch of lies. There’s a big, big motive to lie here which I can’t get into right now. But these are false accusations.”
His rap superstar sister has remained quiet about the case since Maraj’s arrest, but Nicki has reportedly given her older sibling her full backing, with Schwartz telling reporters she is “absolutely” supporting him “100 per cent”. He claims Nicki may also attend part of the trial.
While the No Frauds hitmaker has not commented on the case publicly, she did help to secure her brother’s freedom following his arrest by putting up two of her homes for collateral as she covered his $100,000 bail.
One person who is not standing by her man is Maraj’s wife, Jacqueline Robinson, who filed for divorce in August, 2016, just four days before the couple’s first wedding anniversary.