Judge Sentences R. Kelly to 30 Years in Prison

Prosecutors sought a minimum 25-year term
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2022 2:15 PM CDT
R. Kelly Sentenced to 30 Years in Sex Abuse Case
R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Sept. 17, 2019.   (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

(Newser) – R& B star R. Kelly was found guilty of racketeering and other counts last year at a trial that was seen as a signature moment in the #MeToo movement. Now, his fate: US District Judge Ann Donnelly on Wednesday sentenced the 55-year-old to 30 years in prison, reports the AP. Prosecutors sought a minimum 25-year term, while the defense said a sentence of 10 years or less was all he deserved. The jury convicted him after hearing about how he used his entourage of managers and aides 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 underage.

Prior to the sentence being handed down, defense lawyer Jennifer Bonjean said on her way into court that whatever the sentence, Kelly remains hopeful his conviction will be overturned on appeal. Kelly’s lawyers argued in court papers he should get a break in part because he "experienced ... 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."

Kelly's accusers told a court Wednesday he had preyed on them and misled his fans. "You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel," one woman told the singer. She said she was forever traumatized by her teenage experience with him. "Do you remember that?” she asked. Kelly has been jailed without bail since in 2019. He's still facing child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago, where a trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 15. (Read more R. Kelly stories.)

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