Former R&B singer R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison at a Brooklyn federal court on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering.
Kelly had faced a maximum sentence of life in prison, with federal prosecutors having asked for a minimum of 25 years.
The onetime superstar declined to make a courtroom comment prior to his sentencing. Before handing down the sentence, Judge Ann M. Donnelly said that Kelly’s behavior was violent and “carefully planned,” and that the public needed protection from him. She also cited Kelly’s “indifference to human suffering,” and said he left “broken lives” in his wake.
The 30-year term virtually amounts to a life sentence behind bars for the 55-year-old Kelly.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was found guilty last September on all nine counts in the federal sex trafficking and racketeering trial in Brooklyn. The six-week trial involved charges dating back as much as 20 years, with Kelly found guilty by a jury of seven men and five women of being a serial sexual predator and leading a group that recruited women and young girls for sex during his years touring the world as a top R&B singer.
The trial was his first time in front of a criminal court jury in 13 years. Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges at a 2008 trial in Chicago. In the New York trial, the charges included accusations by a half-dozen people that the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer was a serial sexual predator.
Kelly’s history of sexual misconduct was chronicled in the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, which broke Lifetime ratings records when it premiered January 3, 2019.
Today’s sentence was handed down by his trial judge, who earlier this week denied his team’s motions for acquittal and a new trial. Kelly’s attorneys are expected to appeal the decision.
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