Survivor R. Kelly says 30-year prison sentence is ‘accurate’

Giovante Cunningham happy Singer R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday. She’s also glad she got her voice back, she said, after no one seemed to believe what she had been talking about for so long about the R&B artist.

“Every victim has the right to tell their story. Give them an account. Be heard, be recognized,” she said via Zoom from New York on Wednesday shortly after the verdict. “So I am very excited to hear what will happen and how our judicial system will continue to deliver justice for us as victims.

“We’re starting to see justice and we still have a few more trials to go through,” Cunningham said, referring to the R. Kelly trials that have yet to take place in Chicago and Minnesota.

After meeting R. Kelly when she was 14, Cunningham was the backing vocalist for artist born Robert Sylvester Kelly for “many moons”. She participated in the documentary series “Survive R. Kelly”, where she talked about how the adult singer had sex with Alia when late R&B star was underage.

Cunningham said she has been bullied and bullied over the years by fans, R. Kelly supporters and the like.

“Right now people online are scolding me saying that my parents are getting money and we are just doing it for the glitz and the fame and the fame. All this is not true. All this is not true,” she said. “My parents never received a cent from anyone. My father died.

“I didn’t take money from anyone. I do it because it’s right.”

Now, she said, the healing could begin, though she wouldn’t know what it looked like until it was complete.

“You know, the Bible says that what you do in secret, God will reward you openly,” Cunningham said. “He did all this in secret, so now he’s getting paid openly.”

    Drawing of a masked man sitting in court with his lawyer.

Courtroom sketch showing lawyer Jennifer Bonjean (left) and singer R. Kelly in court on Wednesday.

(Elizabeth Williams/Associated Press)

Cunningham’s attorney, Gloria Allred, who represented many of the victims who testified in the Brooklyn trial, stated during the same video interview that many of the singer’s victims and witnesses were held back “because there were so many attacks when they were speaking their truth.” Fears of retaliation and intimidation from fans, R. Kelly supporters, R. Kelly sellers.”

Sonya, another victim of R. Kelly, introduced by Allred, whose last name is not being released to protect her privacy, was among those who said she had been bullied by people in the singer’s realm for years following his horrific experience years ago. in Chicago.

“I was followed, I was approached at networking events,” she also said during the Zoom call. “This has happened several times.” Each time, she said, she immediately walked away from the person who was chatting with her, and “fell off the network for several days.”

According to her, Sonya was about 20 years old, and she was an intern at a radio station in Utah, when she tried to interview Kelly. He finally said yes, but only if she came to Chicago to talk to him. She flew there and was immediately locked in a hotel room for a few days, she said, and then finally fed something she asked for from the hotel menu.

She took two bites and then did not remember how she got to the couch, but said that when she returned, Kelly was in the room with her and it was clear that she had been attacked.

“Before I left Chicago, I was told not to fuck Mr. Black. Kelly, ‘I shouldn’t have told anyone,’ Sonya said. “I never got my interview.”

After the victim’s statement in court and the hearing of Kelly’s verdict, Sonya said that she finally felt that justice had been served.

“Thirty years for me is what it takes,” she said of the verdict. “I put up with it for almost two decades. I am very pleased with the verdict. Very happy. “

Earlier Wednesday, another victim in Allred spoke to reporters.

A woman speaks to dozens of microphones outside the federal courthouse.

Victim R. Kelly Lizzette Martinez speaks to members of the media in front of federal court on Wednesday.

(John Mincillo/Associated Press)

“This happened to me a long time ago. I was 17; I’m 45 today,” survivor Lizzette Martinez. said outside the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. “I never thought I would be here to see him held accountable for the atrocities he did to children.”

Martinez met Kelly at the mall in 1995 and lived with him for four years, hoping for a singing mentorship, but instead, she says, she lost her virginity to him when she was underage. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse followed in 1999, according to her book: “Jane Doe #9. ”

“I don’t know what else to say other than I’m grateful,” she said outside of court. “I am grateful for today. And I’m grateful that Robert Sylvester Kelly is away and will stay out of the way and can’t hurt anyone else.”

Of the offer, she said, “Personally, I don’t think it’s enough.” The newspaper “New York Times“But I’m happy with it.”

“It was a huge investment of time and emotion for many of the victims,” Allred said during a video call. “They had to go through a lot to get justice. Without them, this would not have happened. Without them, this would not have happened. They were finally heard and, more importantly, many of them were believed by the jury. That’s an excuse for a lot of them.”

“I hope this verdict serves as personal testimony that no matter how powerful, rich or famous your abuser may be or how insignificant they make you feel, justice hears only the truth,” Brooklyn Attorney Breon Peace said Wednesday. . press conference after sentencing outside the courthouse.

Meanwhile, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, told reporters outside the courthouse that her client was “ready” for the verdict and was sorry and sad.

Bonjean, who recently represented Bill Cosby in his civil suit with Judy Huth, which he lost Kelly said he was not a “predator” and added: “He doesn’t agree with the characterizations that have been made of him.”

R. Kelly, 55, is due to face another trial starting in August. 15 in federal court in Chicago, his hometown. He is charged with producing child pornography and forcing underage girls to perform sexual acts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.