Disgraced R&B superstar, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years by a federal judge in Brooklyn, NY yesterday. The sentencing follows his conviction on federal sex trafficking and racketeering charges last year. Prosecutors said Kelly, used his fame and influence to sexually abuse young women and underaged teenage girls for decades.
Kelly showed no emotion as his sentence was handed down. Survivors of Kelly’s abuse addressed him with prepared impact statements during sentencing with a variety of emotions ranging from grief to anger. According to CNN, a victim named Jane Doe 2 at trial, said, “It’s been 23 years since we knew each other, and you’ve victimized a lot of girls since then…Now it’s your turn to have your freedom taken from you.”
Initially, prosecutors requested that the judge sentence Kelly to more than 25 years, but Kelly’s defense attorneys argued against that request, instead of seeking a sentence of ten years or less saying years of abuse should be factored in his sentence. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnell said she took into consideration Kelly’s own childhood, which also included sexual abuse and trauma. “It may explain, at least in part, what led to your behavior,” she continued saying, “but it most surely is not an excuse.”
During sentencing, R. Kelly did not address the court. His attorney, Jennifer Bonjean advised him not to speak because of continued litigation in other states. She said while Kelly accepts his flaws he is not the “one-dimensional monster” portrayed by the prosecution and media. She also said Kelly was devastated by his sentence that also included a $100,000 fine. Kelly’s attorneys say they intend to appeal.
From his illegal marriage to deceased R&B singer, Aaliyah in 1994, to the pornography trial of 2002 that included a sex tape of Kelly and an alleged underaged girl, rumors of Kelly’s abuse of underage girls and sexual deviancy has followed the singer for decades. In spite of the rumors, his career flourished. Things began to change after the release of the explosive documentary, “Surviving R Kelly” in 2019. The documentary featured accounts from his victims who after years of silence, came forward with details of years of abuse by the R&B star. The documentary caused his record label and other entertainers to cease collaborating with him and renewed interest in prosecuting Kelly for his alleged decades of abuse towards young women and teenage girls.
Kelly’s legal troubles are not over as he is set to stand trial in Chicago in August on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges. In a statement, State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx said, “Today, R. Kelly’s survivors saw our federal court system hand down justice for the crimes of which he was convicted last year. I applaud the courageous survivors for speaking up and making sure no other person will become his victim ever again. Now, let us remember to equally focus on all victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence who also deserve justice and protection.”
He is expected to be transferred to Chicago before his trial begins on August 15, 2022. Kelly also faces charges in Minnesota and more state charges in Illinois.