R. Kelly Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison Following Conviction on 9 Federal Charges

by Taylor Cunningham

R&B singer R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison following a month-long, high-profile trial over sexual abuse allegations.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was convicted of eight counts of violating the Mann Act and one count of racketeering last year in a New York court.

Today (June 29), Judge Ann M. Donnelly announced the sentencing.

While on trial, prosecutors proved that Kelly had his employees and other willing participants coax fans and aspiring singers into sexually abusive situations. The singer and his counterparts would often lock their victims inside rooms for days. And they would have no food or bathroom access.

Kelly denied all allegations. And his former employees said under oath that they never witnessed any wrongdoing. The singer did not take the stand during his trial.

R. Kelly was aware that he could get anywhere from 10 years to life if convicted. However, prosecutors suggested no less than 25 behind bars. The lawyers argued that Kelly remains a danger to the public. Furthermore, he showed no remorse for his actions while listening to victims recount their abuse and ongoing trauma.

In a sentencing letter, the prosecutors wrote that the defendant had “a callous disregard” as he sat for testimony. And his actions were “fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct” to the law.

R. Kelly to Stand Trial in Chicago This August

The singer’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, however, claimed that her client should not serve more than the minimum sentence. Bonjean claimed that Kelly was a victim of childhood abuse himself. And that caused “hypersexuality” in his adulthood.

“He is not an evil monster but a complex (unquestionably flawed) human being who faced overwhelming challenges in childhood that shaped his adult life,” she wrote in a separate letter.

Bonjean also added that R. Kelly has an IQ of 70, which is considered functionally illiterate. And that created a shame and fear complex that he carried through his life. It also allowed others in the music industry to take advantage of him financially.

Kelly refused to give a statement during his sentencing. And according to the Associated Press, he had no reaction as the judge announced his time.

The 55-year-old is still awaiting trial for child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago. Now that his NY sentencing is complete, police will transfer him to Illinois. Kelly is scheduled for trial for his pending charges this August.

This is a developing story.