R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex crimes

R. Kelly, the disgraced R&B singer found guilty of running a criminal enterprise designed to help him exploit boys, girls and adults for his own sexual gratification, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Kelly, 55, was found guilty on all charges in federal court in Brooklyn last September. These included extortion for child sexual exploitation, kidnapping, forced labor, and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of people across state lines for sex.

“These victims were available to you,” Judge Anna Donnelly told Kelly before handing down the verdict, which also includes a $100,000 fine. “You left a trail of broken lives…you taught them that love is enslavement, violence and humiliation.”

As the verdict was read, Kelly, who wore black glasses and a khaki shirt, remained emotionless.

Several women made victim impact statements prior to the sentencing hearing, all of which detailed the impact of Kelly’s pattern of sexual, emotional and physical abuse. A woman identified as Angela, who testified in court about how she was sexually assaulted by the singer as a teenager, looked straight at Kelly as she called him a “pied piper” who lured children with fame.

“With every new victim you got more and more evil,” said Angela. “You have used your fame and power to nurture and train underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification.”

Lizette Martinez who was in the Survive R. Kelly documentary series, kept it simple in her statement in court Wednesday: “Robert, you’ve ruined so many lives.”

The conviction comes years after a failed Chicago trial against Kelly in 2008, in which the singer was acquitted of all charges after prosecutors argued a video showed him having sex with R&B singer Sparkle’s teenage niece. Fifteen witnesses, including Sparkle, testified during the trial, which drew national attention. Neither the teenager allegedly seen in the video nor her parents testified.

The grueling six-week trial came after two years of delays spurred by a global pandemic and various legal hurdles — and decades of accusations, indictments and trials. During his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors focused on the harrowing abuse uncovered during the trial and recommended that Kelly be sentenced to more than 25 years in prison to “protect the public from further crimes.”

“He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for nearly 30 years and must now be held accountable,” federal prosecutors said in a 31-page opinion. “Indeed, the defendant’s decades-long crimes appear to have been fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent relieved him of any need to conform his behavior—no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating, or abusive to others—to the structures of the law.”

Kelly’s legal team argued that the singer’s sexual conduct was consensual and that those who spoke out against him were essentially disgruntled ex-partners with an agenda. In a sentencing note, the team, led by Jennifer Bojean, who successfully represented Bill Cosby on his Pennsylvania sexual assault appeal, argued that he should be sentenced to less than 10 years in prison and claimed the singer was himself a victim of abuse been .

Nine women and two men took the stand during the trial to testify about Kelly’s abuse. Almost all of the people who testified were under the age of 18 when they first had sexual contact with him. Among the women who testified was one identified as Jane, who testified about a five-year relationship with Kelly that began when she was 17.

In what was probably the most terrifying episode of the trial, she collapsed on the witness stand while describing how Kelly smeared her feces on her mouth and ate it on video as punishment for breaking one of his rules. (Another time, she said, Kelly forced her to have an abortion to “keep her body toned.”)

“He told me to smear it on my face and what exactly to say and put it in my mouth and pretend I liked it, enjoyed that,” she told jurors.

Kelly was also found guilty of bribing an Illinois officer to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah, the “Princess of R&B,” who was only 15 at the time of their wedding on August 31, 1994.

New details about the bizarre marriage surfaced during the trial, including that the nuptials came after Aaliyah believed she was pregnant. ​​Prosecutors alleged that Kelly’s main or only intention was to marry Aaliyah to ensure “she gets an abortion.”

At the time, Aaliyah was 15 and Kelly was 27.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/r-kelly-sentenced-to-30-years-in-prison-for-sex-crimes?source=articles&via=rss R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex crimes

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