A New York judge sentenced R. Kelly to 30-year imprisonment on Wednesday.
Robert Sylvester Kelly, the famous 55-year-old R&B singer, was found guilty of racketeering and eight charges of breaking the Mann Act, which forbids moving persons between states for prostitution. 45 witnesses testified for the government, and he has been imprisoned since July 2019. He is still facing accusations in Chicago for child pornography and obstructing the course of justice, in addition to charges from state courts in Illinois and Minnesota.
A six-week trial revealed how Kelly had manipulated workers and intermediaries to entice fans and aspiring singers into sexually abusive and controlling conditions, including locking them in spaces devoiding of food or bathroom access for days. Kelly, one of the most decorated hitmakers between 1990s and early 2000s, was found guilty of all nine counts against him in September.
Given Kelly’s persistent threat to the public and obvious lack of remorse for allegedly leveraging his popularity to sexually and emotionally abuse alleged victims, many of whom were minors, federal prosecutors had requested a term of “in excess of 25 years.”
Even though Kelly had been found guilty of planning for years to enlist women, minor girls, and men for intercourse, his lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, who also defended Bill Cosby in his triumphant appeal of a sexual offensive conviction last year, pleaded for a minimum sentence of less than 10-year imprisonment, stating that the singer’s own experience of being sexually abused during his childhood may have contributed to his “hypersexuality” when he grew older.
Per the New York Times, Angela, the earliest victim to speak, stood at a lectern and pointed right at Kelly as she described him as a Pied Piper who seduced underage with his fortune and reputation.
“With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness. You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification,” she said. “We are no longer the preyed-upon individuals we once were. pray that god reaches your soul,” added Angela.
Addie, the 2nd victim to share, expressed regrets over her long silence on her encounter with Kelly in the 1990s, as “the last four years have been a rude awakening of how my silence has hurt others.”
According to Lizette Martinez’s impact claim, “I do not know how to put a price on all I’ve gone through. I am now 45, a mother and I struggle with mental health.” She replied while staring directly at Kelly, who did not return her gaze, “Robert, you destroyed so many people’s lives.”
“Jane Doe No. 2” was the alias of another who spoke, “I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life.”
The 6th victim’s dad, who join his daughter to the stand, claimed, “I didn’t come here to bash Mr. Kelly.” He went on, “I do want to ask you, Mr. Kelly, to look at me, man to man, father to father. Put yourself in my shoes. I’ve certainly put myself in your shoes.” Kelly didn’t look at him.
The Times reports that Kelly kept his head mostly lowered during the hearing while sometimes looking up at the court or a witness. He was wearing black eyeglasses and a khaki shirt.
Kelly was accused of abusing young females throughout his career as the allegations initially surfaced in the early 1990s. He married Aaliyah Haughton, a protégé singer, inexplicably in 1994 when she was just 15 years old using a forged identification card that his former manager later acknowledged he had obtained.
A graphic video that Kelly had recorded of himself having intercourse with a purportedly underage girl who rejected to testify against him was delivered to the Chicago Sun-Times in 2000. He was charged in 2002, spent a short time in jail, and was then exonerated six years later.
His career and the assertions against him persisted, almost ceaseless, until the early 2010s when they reappeared. Ultimately, the 2019 Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which featured vivid accounts from his claimed victims, completely changed public opinion against him, despite mostly repeating details that had been widely known for decades.
By the time he was put behind bars, his sizable touring and recorded-music income, which had supported the legal representation and other defense strategies, had mostly dried up.
Nine women and two men gave graphic accounts of Kelly’s sexual and mental abuse at the trial last autumn, and several of them testified under oath that they were underage when he first had intercourse with them.
Kelly allegedly exhibits no remorse for or even acknowledgement of his unlawful behavior, displaying “a callous disregard” for the effects of his abuse, which was allegedly ” fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct” to the law, according to the prosecution’s letter regarding the sentencing.
According to the New York Times, Kelly’s lawyer said that the prosecution had painted her client as a “one-dimensional criminal” who deserved leniency due to a “serious history of sexual abuse” as a youngster at the hands of family members and others. He is a complicated (unquestionably imperfect) human-being who had enormous obstacles as a kid that affected his mature life, not an awful monster, she wrote. She claimed Kelly, who likewise experienced humiliation and dread throughout his life, has an IQ of 79 and is “functionally illiterate.”
Following the punishment, Kelly will probably be moved to Chicago, where he will stand trial in August on allegations of obstruction and child pornography.