The landmark case against the disgraced R&B singer and songwriter R.Kelly concluded on Wednesday US time with the 55-year-old sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking.
The sentencing followed on from a September 2021 court hearing in which Kelly was convicted of eight charges of sex trafficking and one of racketeering. The wicked crimes were committed over decades which saw women and girls procured for him to psychologically and sexually abuse, often facilitated by some of his inner circle.
As of Wednesday US time, Kelly, at 55 years old, is likely to spend most of his adult life behind bars, set to be released in his mid-eighties. He was also ordered to pay a $US100,000 ($A146,000) fine.
BREAKING: R&B singer R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for using his superstardom to subject young fans — some just children — to systematic sexual abuse. https://t.co/63L9C6w8xq
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 29, 2022
U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly presided over the federal trial in Brooklyn, New York City, where she said in court that Kelly had manipulated girls and women.
“This case is not about sex. It’s about violence and cruelty and control,” Judge Donnelly said. “You had a system in place that lured young people into your orbit — and then you took over their lives.”
One of Kelly’s victims, who presented in court by the pseudonym ‘Jane Doe No. 2’, recalled her sexual encounters with the R&B star in 1999 when she was only 17 years of age.
“I was a teenager. And you were a pedophile, ready to ruin another young lady’s life,” said the woman. “You made me do things that broke me. I literally wished that I could die because of how you made me feel.”
The month-long trial that began in September last year saw the prosecuting team label Kelly as a “predator” who would use his fame to prey on young victims.
“This case is not about a celebrity who likes to party a lot,” Assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said in her opening statement at the September trial. “This case is about a predator.”
In retaliation, Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean said during the trial that he was “prepared” for the “stiff” sentence to come, adding “He’s not a predator. He disagrees with the characterisations that have been made about him.”
Once hailed as ‘the King of R&B’, R.Kelly came to fame in the 1990s and 2000s with chart-topping hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Ignition (Remix)”. The staggering downfall came with suggestions that during these years of fame, Kelly began having sex with a 15-year-old girl, according to that individual’s subsequent lawsuit.
Kelly declined to speak at the conclusion of his hearing. He still faces a subsequent trial in Chicago this August on federal charges relating to producing child pornography and luring minors into sex acts.
Breaking News: R. Kelly, the former R&B singer long accused of sexually abusing minors, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking and racketeering. https://t.co/mKj7K7A1Y2
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 29, 2022