NEW YORK – Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday, following his conviction last year on federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Kelly is the second high profile figure to receive a lengthy prison sentence related to sex trafficking charges in the past two days. Ghislaine Maxwell learned her fate on Tuesday when she was sentenced to 20 in prison for her role in helping powerful pedophile Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse young girls.
Kelly’s case stemmed from his efforts over the years to use his fame to ensnare victims he sexually abused, prosecutors said.
Following a hearing that lasted nearly three hours, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly imposed the sentence on Kelly, who did not address the court during the hearing, Fox News reported.
The verdict is in: R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years. https://t.co/SAYsyGvPL2
— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) June 29, 2022
Seven of Kelly’s victims provided impact statements during the sentencing hearing. When it came time for judgment, they held hands as the sentence was read.
“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 Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling singer. “Do you remember that?”
Another woman, sobbing and sniffling as she spoke, said Kelly’s conviction restored her faith in the legal system.
“I once lost hope,” she said, addressing the court and prosecutors, “but you restored my faith.”
The woman said Kelly victimized her after she went to a concert when she was 17, according to Fox.
“I was afraid, naive and didn’t know to handle the situation,” she said, so she didn’t speak up at the time.
“Silence,” she said, “is a very lonely place.”
Kelly had no reaction when the sentence was read. The singer of the hit song, “I Believe I can Fly,” has been grounded following his conviction for racketeering, which includes 14 underlying acts of sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, and sex trafficking charges.
Moreover, Kelly was convicted on eight violations of the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport people across state lines for “immoral purposes.”
Kelly used his “fame, money and popularity” to systematically “prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification,” prosecutors wrote in the court filing.
“He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account,” prosecutors added.
R. Kelly (Wikipedia Commons)
The trial that produced Kelly’s conviction lasted six weeks. His attorneys had argued he should get no more than 10 years in prison since he had a traumatic upbringing, “involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence.”
His lawyers claimed that Kelly is an adult with “literacy deficiencies.” As a result, the star was “repeatedly defrauded and financially abused, often by the people he paid to protect him.”
Prosecutors argued that Kelly should receive at least 25 years in prison for his crimes, Fox reported.
Hence, they got their wish plus five additional years.