R. Kelly Sentenced to 30 Years in New York Sex Trafficking Case

On Wednesday, a New York federal court sentenced disgraced musician R. Kelly to 30 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced the R&B star after she and the court heard statements from Kelly’s victims and also ordered him to pay a $100,000 fine, according to Associated Press.

“While sex was certainly a weapon you used, this is not about sex. This is a case of violence, brutality and control,” the judge told the multi-platinum singer, who was convicted in September of federal sex trafficking and racketeering charges.

Kelly, 55, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, once again came face to face with his accusers during a sentencing hearing in Brooklyn when several women spoke of the pain he caused them, telling him they were “no longer prey” . on the faces we once were,” the AP said.

“You made me do something that broke my spirit. I literally wanted to die for how low you made me feel. Do you remember this? one woman asked the fallen R&B star in Brooklyn court as he awaited sentencing.

Another victim claimed that the Grammy Award winner, best known for the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly and the raunchy musical odyssey Trapped in the Closet, manipulated fans into believing he was someone. other than the person the jury saw. Another said the verdict restored her faith in the justice system.

An emotional sentencing hearing took place more than nine months after federal jury in New York found guilty “I’m a Flirt” singer on nine counts, including sex trafficking and racketeering, for forcing women and underage girls and boys to have sex.

Kelly has been held at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center since the September sentencing. Musician kept his hands folded and looked down as he listened to witnesses, AP reported. He denied his guilt and plans to appeal the verdict.

Earlier this month prosecutors asked that Kelly has been behind bars for “over 25 years”, claiming he is a danger to society. Prosecutors also pointed to his lack of remorse for using his fame to lure victims.

Kelly’s defense team pushed for a minimum sentence of 10 years or less, arguing that Kelly “experienced a traumatic childhood associated with severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty and abuse” and that his victimization continued into adulthood, where he was repeatedly subjected to fraud and financial coercion. was abused, often by the people he paid to protect him “because of his illiteracy.

After long-awaited six-week trial period Last summer, a federal jury concluded that the Grammy winner used his celebrity status to acquire and then psychologically and sexually abuse girls and young women over a 25-year period. The operation, which involved a network of managers and assistants who helped Kelly meet girls and keep them submissive and quiet, was a criminal enterprise (hence the racketeering charge). They also found that Kelly had violated an anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.

Sketch of a courtroom showing a man sitting at a table.

In this courtroom sketch, R. Kelly and his attorney, Jennifer Bonjean (left), appear during a federal sentencing hearing in New York City.

(Elizabeth Williams/Associated Press)

“This is a significant result for all of R. Kelly’s victims and especially for the survivors who so boldly testified to the horrific and sadistic abuse they were subjected to,” USA Attie. Breon Peace said in press conference after sentencing outside the courthouse. “R. Kelly is a predator, and as a result of our prosecution, he could serve a lengthy prison sentence for his crime.

“He continued to commit his crimes for almost 30 years and has escaped punishment until today. Today’s verdict showed that the witnesses have retained control over their lives and their futures. These are the voices of mostly black and brown women and children who have been heard and believed…justice has finally been served. This is a victory for them, for justice, and for future survivors of sexual assault.”

Steve Francis, Executive Deputy Director of Homeland Security Investigations, added that Kelly’s sentencing “sends a clear signal that neither money nor fame is enough to escape justice” or buy immunity, and that the United States government will hold you accountable for any atrocities committed by you. commit. “

“While we are disappointed by the verdict, we are very keen to bring Mr. Kelly’s Appeal before the Second Circuit,” Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, said in an email to The Times. “We continue to argue that the government overcharged and then failed to prove racketeering and violation of the Mann Act.”

Earlier this month, Bonjean represented comedian Bill Cosby in a civil suit that played out unfavorably for the star of The Cosby Show in Los Angeles Superior Court. A civil jury found Cosby guilty of sexually abusing teenage Judy Huth in the 1970s and he was ordered to pay $500,000.

Kelly’s sentence was rescheduled from May as no pre-sentencing report was filed, according to CBS. At the same time, the judge also denied his lawyer’s request to delay sentencing until the completion of the musician’s trial this August in a separate federal case in his hometown of Chicago.

Sexual harassment allegations have plagued the hitmaker for decades but have repeatedly fallen by the wayside as he built a musical empire on his sexually explicit songs with titles such as “Ignition”, “Bump N’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin”. The singer-producer has long seemed invincible, escaping criminal charges despite horrendous allegations against young women and children — even those involving his marriage to his musical protégé Alia Haughton, who died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22. (According to court testimony, Kelly abused her when she was 13 or 14 and forged documents to marry her when she was 15 and he was 27.)

But, as is the case with other famous and influential people, statements caught up with the singer in 2018 after the #MeToo movement.

Widespread public condemnation was accompanied by an Emmy Award nomination. Lifetime documentary series Survivor R. Kelly, allowing several of his accusers to share their stories. The saga and its 2020 sequel The Reckoning spawned #MuteRKelly viral campaign this began to interfere with the musician to perform on stage.

Early 2019 RCA Records dropped Kellyand a few weeks later, an Illinois Cook County grand jury indicted him for 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. Nine of these counts indicated that the victims were between the ages of 13 and 16. Then Kelly sat down… and got up — during his infamous CBS interview with Gayle Kingduring which he was worried about questions about his problems with the law.

Kelly’s trial was repeatedly postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but finally took place last August. Kelly’s lawyers argued that his own story of an abused child may have led to his adult “hypersexuality”.

Kelly’s upcoming trial in Chicago is tied to federal child pornography and obstruction of justice charges stemming from allegations that he filmed his sex with underage girls, paid silence money and intimidated witnesses to cover up his alleged crimes, as well as multiple allegations of sexual assault and sexual assault in Cook County. He pleaded not guilty.

Experts said that separate state charges could potentially be dropped due to the singer’s long prison term in New York. However, it is unlikely that federal charges in Chicago will be dropped.

The singer also faced extortion fee in Minnesota; he is accused of offering a 17-year-old girl $200 to strip and dance in 2001.