Singer R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking

NEW YORK – Breakout R&B star R. Kelly was sentenced to more than a quarter century in prison after being sentenced Wednesday in a federal sex trafficking case in New York.

R. Kelly was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison in New York for the federal sex trafficking case.


Through tears and anger, R. Kelly’s accusers told the court Wednesday that he had taken advantage of them and misled his fans while the fallen R&B star awaited sentencing for his federal sex trafficking conviction.

You made me do things that broke my spirit

Victim of R. Kelly

“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I’d die because of how bad you made me feel,” a woman told the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning singer. She said that she was forever traumatized by her teenage experience with him.

“You remember?” she asked.

Kelly manipulated millions of fans into believing he was someone other than the man the jury saw, another accuser told the court.

The victims “have sought to be heard and recognized,” he said. “We are no longer the predated individuals that we once were.”

A third woman, sobbing and sobbing as she spoke, said Kelly’s conviction renewed her confidence in the legal system.

“I lost hope once,” he said, addressing the court and prosecutors, “but my faith was restored.”

The woman said Kelly victimized her after going to a concert when she was 17 years old.

“I was scared, I was naive and I didn’t know how to handle the situation,” she said, so she didn’t speak at the time.

Silence is a very lonely place

Victim of R. Kelly

“Silence,” he said, “is a very lonely place.”


Kelly kept her hands folded and her eyes downcast as she listened.

After being sentenced to three decades in jail, Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, told reporters that they plan to appeal, adding that her client is doing well after sentencing, but “obviously it was a difficult day.”

“He’s strong and we’re going to get through this,” defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean said on the way to court. Whatever her sentence is, Kelly is hopeful her conviction will be overturned on appeal, she said.


A jury found Kelly, 55, guilty of extortion and other charges last year in a trial that was seen as a key moment in the #MeToo movement.

Outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct with young women and minors was fueled in part by the widely watched documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” which gave voice to accusers who wondered if their stories were previously ignored because they were African-American women. .

US District Judge Ann Donnelly imposed the 30-year sentence in federal court in Brooklyn after hearing testimony from the victims and possibly from Kelly himself.


Prosecutors were seeking a minimum term of 25 years, while the defense says a sentence of 10 years or less is all he deserves; the judge gave him a little more.

US District Judge Ann Donnelly ruled that federal guidelines allowed for a sentence of up to life in prison.

Defense attorneys argued in court papers that the singer should be given a chance in part because he “experienced a traumatic childhood that involved prolonged and severe childhood sexual abuse, poverty and violence.”

They added: “His victimization continued into adulthood where, due to his literacy deficiencies, the defendant has been repeatedly financially defrauded and abused, often by the people he paid to protect him.”

The jury convicted the “I Believe I Can Fly” hitmaker after hearing how he used his entourage of managers and assistants to meet girls and keep them obedient, an operation prosecutors said amounted to a criminal enterprise.

Several accusers testified that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were minors.

Kelly, whose birth name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, used his “fame, money and popularity” to “systematically prey on children and young women for his own sexual gratification,” prosecutors wrote in their own filing earlier this month.

The former German tennis player faces two and a half years behind bars.

The accusers alleged that they were ordered to sign confidentiality forms and subjected to threats and punishment, including violent whipping, if they broke what were called “Rob’s rules”.

Some said they believed the videotapes he recorded of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.

There were testimonies that Kelly gave various accusers herpes without disclosing that he had an STD, forced a teenage boy to join him in having sex with a naked girl who emerged from under a boxing ring in his garage, and recorded a embarrassing video of a victim showing her with feces on her face as punishment for breaking her rules.

Evidence was also presented about a fraudulent marriage scheme hatched to protect Kelly after he feared he impregnated R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15 years old. Witnesses said she married sports sweats using a license that falsely listed her age as 18; Kelly was 27 years old at the time.


Aaliyah worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. She died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.

An earlier defense memo suggested that prosecutors’ arguments for a higher sentence were overstepped by falsely claiming that Kelly participated in paying a government official a bribe to facilitate the illegal marriage.

Kelly’s attorneys also said it was incorrect to claim he should get more time because he sexually abused one of his victims, referred to in court as “Jane,” after her parents innocently entrusted him to help her with her musical career.

“The record shows that Jane’s parents ordered her to lie to the defendant about her age and then encouraged her to seduce him,” the documents say.


US Attorney Breon Peace called Kelly’s decades-long sentence “a significant outcome” for R. Kelly’s victims.

“A few moments ago, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison,” Peace said. “This is a significant result for all of R.Kelly’s victims and especially the survivors who so bravely testified to the horrific and sadistic abuse they endured. R.Kelly is a predator and as a result of our prosecution, he will serve a long sentence. for his crimes. With the help of his fame, his money, and most importantly, his inner circle, R. Kelly preyed on children and young women for his own sexual gratification for decades…He continued to commit his crimes for almost 30 years and avoided punishment, until today”.

Victory belongs to the victims of sexual abuse

Breon Peace, US Attorney

Breon went on to say that the sentence was a “win for [los sobrevivientes], for justice and for future survivors of sexual assault. Victims of sexual violence must be heard, perpetrators must be held accountable, and our women and children must be protected.” I hope this sentence will serve as your own testimony that no matter how powerful, rich, or famous your abuser may be, how small can make him feel, justice only listens to the truth”.

HSI Deputy Executive Director Steve Francis shared similar sentiments, saying “today’s sentencing is a victory that belongs to the victims.”

Francis also described R. Kelly as a “prolific serial predator who used his status as a globally recognized Grammy Award-winning household name to inflict pain and anguish on so many victims.”

“No matter how many hit songs he has released, his legacy will not be remembered for his voice, but for the voices of the brave women and men who stepped up to reveal to the world the monster that R.Kelly truly is,” he said. Francisco.


Kelly has been jailed without bail since 2019. He still faces child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago, where his trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 15.

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Singer R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking

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