We can confirm that jurors today convicted rapper Nicki Minaj’s brother of sexually assaulting his former stepdaughter in a Baldwin home, after a monthlong trial in which the defense claimed the allegations were invented to try to extort $25 million from the man’s famous sister.
Jelani Maraj, 38, of Baldwin, now faces up to life in prison.
The Nassau County Court convicted him on a felony charge of predatory sexual assault on a child. The Mineola jury also convicted him of endangering the welfare of a child.
Maraj showed no emotion when the verdict was read, and State Supreme Court Justice Robert McDonald ordered him held without bail in Nassau County jail in East Meadow. Maraj had been free on bond.
He was handcuffed and taken from the courtroom after the verdict.
Prosecutors had alleged Maraj began abusing the girl when she was 11, raping her repeatedly between April and November 2015 while her mother was at work.
Now 14, the girl testified Maraj would call her “his puppet” and tell her she had “no say” in what he did to her. She told jurors Maraj treated her as if she was his own daughter before the abuse then began. But she said once it did, Maraj told her she “wanted it to happen,” and slapped her in the face if she refused his advances.
Maraj’s mother, Carol Maraj, declined to comment.