R. Kelly Sentenced To 30 Years Behind Bars
R&B singer, producer and sex offender R. Kelly was sentenced Wednesday in New York to 30 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly imposed the sentence after a lengthy hearing at which she heard from some of Kelly’s victims – but not from Kelly.
“Although sex was certainly a weapon that you used, this is not a case about sex," Donnelly told Kelly. "It’s a case about violence, cruelty and control." She added that "the public has to be protected from behaviours like this."
One of Kelly's victims addressed him directly in the courtroom. “You made me do things that broke my spirit," she said, according to The Associated Press. "I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel. Do you remember that?"
Earlier this month, prosectors called for a sentence “in excess of 25 years” while Kelly’s lawyer sought a stance of less than 14 years.
The 55-year-old singer was also ordered to pay a $100,000 U.S. fine.
Kelly, was convicted last September in New York City of one count of racketeering – which included 14 underlying acts including sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping and bribery – and eight counts of sex trafficking.
R. Kelly: iHeartRadio.ca Music News Coverage
Nine women and two men testified during the six-week trial about how Kelly used his fame to lure them with promises of helping them in the music business. Several said they were underage when he sexually assaulted them. Some of the testimony was graphic and jurors were shown videos of sex acts that prosecutors said were non-consensual.
Prosecutors portrayed Kelly as a serial abuser who exercised “control over these victims using every trick in the predator handbook” but his defence lawyers labelled his accusers as “groupies” who “made a choice” to have relationships with Kelly.
The verdict came 13 years after Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in Illinois and two years after the documentary Surviving R Kelly, in which several women shared their stories and Kelly's brother Bruce said his famous sibling has a “preference” for younger females that goes back decades.
Kelly faces another trial on sex crimes in Illinois that is scheduled to get underway in August. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Kelly is a successful Grammy-winning R&B artist best known for hits like “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Bump n’ Grind” and “Ignition (Remix).” He also did collaborations with a long list of artists, including Canada’s Céline Dion and Justin Bieber and produced several tracks for Michael Jackson and acts like B2K, Toni Braxton and Whitney Houston.