On Wednesday (June 29), R. Kelly appeared in court to be sentenced, 10 months after he was found guilty in Brooklyn, N.Y. federal court in September of 2021. Judge Ann M. Donnelly sentenced Kelly to serve 30 years in prison, according to the New York Times.
“The public has to be protected from behaviors like this,” judge Donnelly reportedly told Kelly during the sentencing. “These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,” she added. “You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.”
The musician reportedly declined to comment during the hearing. R. Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, spoke on the outcome of the sentencing to the press afterward.
“He’s not a predator,” she reportedly said. “He has regrets and he is sad,” she added. “He disagrees with the characterizations that have been made about him.”
Bonjean filed a last-minute motion on Tuesday (June 28) to try and get the crooner a new trial on the grounds that the racketeering charges were misused, and Kelly’s trial defense team was inadequate. His attorney also requested a lighter sentence based on factors that included the singer being molested as a child. The attempt was shot down by Judge Donnelly.
The judge heard multiple victim impact statements before ultimately making her ruling. One woman, who was identified as Jane Doe 2, spoke about Kelly forcing her to complete sex acts.
“I felt special, because someone who was special to the world was interested in me,” she said, adding, “I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life.”
The sentencing announcement was a satisfying one for victims of the Chicago singer.
“No one can undo the harm that has been done to these victims,” said attorney Gloria Allred, who represented three victims who testified, told reporters Wednesday, according to CNN. “But at least it’s time for Mr. Kelly to be accountable.”
The disgraced 55-year-old singer was arrested back in 2019 and accused of heading an organization where he recruited underage girls and women and subjected them to sex crimes. He was charged with bribery, kidnapping, forced labor, sexual exploitation of a child, sexual trafficking across state lines and racketeering involving six victims. The jury was even show evidence that Kelly married then 15-year-old Aaliyah.
The sentencing comes 14 years after Kelly was acquitted of 14 counts in a child pornography case in Illinois. Kelly also faces sex-related charges in his home state of Illinois and Minnesota.
R. Kelly has been having issues in prison already. In 2020, he was assaulted by a fellow inmate who reportedly said the government made him do it. Last year, he was reportedly placed on suicide watch following the verdict of his case. In February, he reportedly contracted COVID-19.
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