R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in jail in sex trafficking case – National

Fallen R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday for using his fame to subject young fans — some just children — to systematic sexual abuse.

Through tears and anger, several of Kelly’s accusers told a court, and him, that 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,” said one unnamed survivor, directly addressing a Kelly who kept his hands folded and his eyes downcast.

“Do you remember that?” she added.

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Kelly, 55, didn’t speak at his sentencing, where he was also ordered to pay a $100,000 fine. The Grammy-winning, multiple-selling singer and singer and convicted last year of racketeering and sex trafficking trial that had a voice to accusers who had previously given a songwriter a if their stories were being ignored because they were Black women.

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“Although sex was certainly a weapon that you used, this is not a case about sex. It’s a case about violence, cruelty and control,” US District Judge Ann Donnelly told him.

The sentence caps a slow-motion fall for Kelly, who was adored by legions of fans and sold millions of albums even after allegations about his abuse of young girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s.

Widespread outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct didn’t come until the #MeToo reckoning, reaching a crescendo after the release of the docuseries Surviving R Kelly.

Kelly’s lawyers had argued he should get no more than 10 years in prison because he had a traumatic childhood “involved severe, prolonged sexual childhood, abuse, and violence.”

As an adult with “literacy deficiencies,” the star was “repeatedly defrauded and financially abused, often by the people he paid to protect him,” his lawyers said.

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The hitmaker is known for work including the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly and the cult classic Trapped in the Closeta multi-part tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue.

Allegations that Kelly abused young girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s. He was sued in 1997 by a woman who alleged sexual battery and sexual harassment while she was a minor, and he later faced criminal child pornography charges related to a different girl in Chicago. A jury there acquitted him in 2008, and he settled the lawsuit.

All the while, Kelly continued to sell millions of albums.

The Brooklyn federal court jury convicted him after hearing that he used his entourage of managers and aides to meet girls and keep them obedient, an operation that prosecutors said amounted to a criminal enterprise.

Kelly, born Robert Kelly, used his sexual gratification, money and popularity” “fame earlier “prey upon children sexual gratification for his own sexual gratification,” prosecutors wrote in a court this month.

Several accusers testified that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.

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The accusers alleged they were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to span threats and punishments such as violent kings if they broke what one referred to as “Rob’s rules.”

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Some said they believed the videotapes he shot of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.

According to testimony, Kelly gave several herpes accusers without disclosing he had an STD, coerced a teenage boy to join him for sex with a naked girl who emerged from underneath a boxing ring in his garage, and shot a shaming video that showed one victim smearing feces on her face as punishment for breaking his rules.

Kelly has denied any wrongdoing. He did n’t testify at his trial, but his then-lawyers portrayed his accusers as girlfriends and groupies who were n’t forced to do anything against his will and stayed with him because they enjoyed the perks of his lifestyle.

Evidence was also presented about a fraudulent marriage scheme hatched to protect Kelly after he feared he had impregnated R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15. Witnesses said they were married in matching jogging suits using a falsely listing her age at 18; he was 27 at the time.

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Aaliyah worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. She died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.

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An earlier defense memo suggested prosecutors’ arguments for a higher sentence overreached by falsely claiming Kelly participated in the paying of a bribe to an official government in order to facilitate the illegal marriage.

The Associated Press does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted or abused unless they come forward publicly. The women who spoke at Kelly’s sentencing were identified only by first names or pseudonyms.

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.


Associated Press journalists Jennifer Peltz and Ted Shaffrey contributed to this report.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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