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Singer R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison in sex trafficking case

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R Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday after the multi-platinum R&B singer was convicted of abusing his fame and wealth over decades to lure women and underage girls into his job for sex.

The sentence was handed down nine months after Kelly, 55, was convicted of racketeering and sex crimes, in a trial that reinforced the charges that had dogged the singer of the Grammy-winning hit “I Believe I Can Fly” for two decades.

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn federal court said the evidence reflected Kelly’s “indifference to human suffering” and “pure brutality” toward his victims.

“This case isn’t about sex. It’s about violence, cruelty and control,” Donnelly told Kelly. “You left a trail of broken lives.”

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is one of the most prominent people convicted of sexual misconduct during the #MeToo movement against such behavior by prominent men.

He did not speak at the hearing on Wednesday, but has repeatedly denied allegations of sexual abuse.

After the verdict was read, his attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, told reporters that Kelly was “devastated” by the verdict, but that he would appeal.

“Thirty years in prison is like a life sentence for him,” Bonjean said.

“Do you remember that?”

The conviction came after several accusers, some of whom were in tears, told the judge how Kelly promised to guide them and help them achieve stardom, only to subject them to degrading sexual treatment and physical harm.

Many said the abuse led to ongoing mental health problems.

“As a teenager, I didn’t know how to say no to R. Kelly when he asked me to do oral sex with him,” said a woman identified as Jane Doe No. 2.

She paused, looked at Kelly and asked, “Remember that?”

Kelly wore a black face mask and beige prison clothing at his sentencing.

Several prosecutors testified at the 5-1/2 week trial about how Kelly would demand that his victims strictly abide by his rules.

These included requiring him to get his permission to go to the bathroom, calling him “daddy” and writing “apology letters” claiming to release Kelly of wrongdoing, among others.

The alleged victims included singer Aaliyah, who prosecutors said Kelly fraudulently married at age 15 to cover up past abuse. Aaliyah died in 2001.

“This is an important outcome for all of R. Kelly’s victims and especially for the survivors who have testified so bravely about the horrific and sadistic abuse they endured,” Breon Peace, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, said after the hearing against reporters.

no remorse

He was convicted of nine criminal charges, including one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of people across state lines for prostitution.

Prosecutors had pushed for more than 25 years in prison, saying Kelly had shown his victims “regardless” and showed no remorse. Read the full story

“I never thought I would be here to hold him accountable for the horrible things he did to children,” Lizzette Martinez, one of the prosecutors speaking in the courtroom, told reporters after the hearing.

Defense attorneys said Kelly earned no more than 10 years, the mandatory minimum, arguing that his history as an abused child may have led to his adult “hypersexuality” and that he no longer posed a threat.

Kelly has been in prison since July 2019.

He will likely soon be transported to a Chicago prison, where he will face federal court in August for child pornography and obstruction. He also faces several state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.


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