R. Kelly learned his fate on Wednesday; as expected, it wasn’t good. More than six months after a Brooklyn jury found Kelly, 54, guilty of sex abuse and racketeering charges, the once-celebrated R&B singer appeared in court on Wednesday. There, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced Kelly to 30 years in prison, per Rolling Stone.
Before he was sentenced, seven of Kelly’s victims addressed the court, sharing statements of what they experienced or speaking directly to R. Kelly. “I am a representation of every woman, boy, child, [and] man that you have ever afflicted with your deplorable, inexplicable acts and with that I leave you with yourself, Robert Sylvester Kelly,” a victim under the pseudonym “Angela” (who also testified during the trial, per RS) said to Kelly. “You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification.”
Kelly (born Robert Sylvester Kelly) faced a total of nine counts in his 2021 trial, per CNN: “one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, and sex trafficking charges, and also eight additional counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law.” The jury found Kelly guilty of one racketeering charge and eight counts of violating the Mann act. Of the 14 underlying acts for the racketeering charge, Kelly needed to be found guilty of at least two to be convicted. The jurors said that the prosecution proved all but two of the 14 racketeering acts.
“Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification,” said Jacquelyn Kasulis, acting U.S. attorney from the Eastern District of New York, following the verdict. “[R. Kelly is] a predator who used his inner circle to ensnare underage girls and young men and women for decades, in a sordid web of sex abuse, exploitation, and humiliation.”
“Based on the serious charges for which R. Kelly was convicted, I believe the Court will be hard-pressed to give him a break and will likely sentence the defendant to several decades in prison,” Julie Rendelman, New York criminal attorney, told HollywoodLife when discussing Kelly’s potential fate in September 2021.
Prosecutors were seeking a 25-year prison term, according to ABC News, while Kelly’s team said he should receive ten years or less. “He’s strong, and we are going to get through this,” Kelly’s defense lawyer Jennifer Bonjean said on her way into court, adding that they planned to appeal whatever sentencing would be handed down and that Kelly was hopeful that his conviction would be overturned. His legal team argued that he should be granted mercy in part because he “experienced a traumatic childhood involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence.”
His victimization continued into adulthood where, because of his literacy deficiencies, the defendant has been repeatedly defrauded and financially abused, often by the people he paid to protect him,” his team added.
Kelly’s legal woes are not over. He is scheduled to stand trial in Chicago on child pornography and obstructions charges, per the Associated Press. If found guilty, Kelly’s time in prison could be much, much longer than what he received today.