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Alleged victim testifies in Jelani Maraj child rape case

Witness testifies she was raped for several months in 2015 while defense says the alleged abuse was made up to try and extort money

Jelani Maraj, whom a source has identified as

Jelani Maraj, whom a source has identified as the brother of award-winning singer and rapper Nicki Minaj, on pretrial hearing for allegedly raping a 12-year old on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 in Mineola. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A 14-year-old girl testified Monday in a Mineola court about her alleged sexual abuse two years ago by star rapper Nicki Minaj’s brother — a man she said “would call me his puppet.”

The witness said her former stepfather, Jelani Maraj, also would tell her she had “no say in what he did to me.”

Maraj, 38, of Baldwin, faces up to life in prison if Nassau County jurors find him guilty of predatory sexual assault on a child.

The witness said Maraj raped her repeatedly between April and November of 2015 in their Baldwin home while her mother, who married Maraj that August, was at work.

The defense has claimed the alleged abuse was made up by the girl’s mother in a failed attempt to extort $25 million from Maraj’s rich and famous musician sister.

Now in ninth grade, the alleged victim testified Maraj treated her as if she was his own daughter before the abuse began. She said after it began, Maraj told her she “wanted it to happen,” would slap her in the face if she refused his advances, and made threats that kept her from reporting about the abuse.

“I thought he would send me away from my mother . . . That’s what he said would actually happen. So I didn’t say anything,” she told prosecutor Emma Slane.

Newsday isn’t identifying the witness by name to protect her identity as an alleged sexual assault victim.

The witness testified that her younger brother had walked into a bedroom as Maraj was getting ready to abuse her one day. She told her sibling later to keep quiet or “Jelani would hit us or we would get sent away . . . because Jelani would deny it,” the witness said.

Police arrested Maraj in December 2015 after prosecutors said the boy revealed what he allegedly saw to a child protection worker. His sister had first sparked an investigation while speaking to a school guidance counselor, according to authorities.

During cross-examination, the witness told defense attorney David Schwartz she was a fan of Minaj’s music, but only met her three times, and never saw her mother look up the rapper’s net worth.

The girl denied that after Maraj’s arrest, she understood that she would make millions of dollars, and she denied that anyone in her family asked Minaj for $25 million — as the defense has claimed.

She also denied testifying about alleged sex abuse to a grand jury because her mother beat her. During another part of her testimony, she said her mother would hit her in 2015 when she was drunk.

The witness said she didn’t tell her mother about the alleged abuse before her wedding or try to stop the wedding.

She acknowledged a conflict between her initial testimony Monday and what she told a medical official in 2015 regarding a description of one of the alleged incidents. She also said she didn’t remember telling the grand jury it happened in a different room than she said during some of her Monday testimony.

The girl also testified on cross-examination that she saw Maraj wash his underwear after allegedly abusing her and getting blood on them the day before police arrested him. Later, she said she only heard water running, didn’t see the actual washing but saw his boxers were wet.

The defense told jurors previously the alleged victim was a liar because police found no blood on the boxers.

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