US: This comes after R. Kelly was convicted last year on federal charges of racketeering and sex trafficking stemming from his long-term efforts to exploit the fame of victims he sexually abused and was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Defense attorneys argued that prosecutors’ request for a sentence of more than 25 years in prison was “tantamount to a life sentence,” while prosecutors sought a sentence of less than 10 years.
US District Court Judge Ann Donnelly began reading Kelly’s punishment to survivors of his abuse. There were no visible signs of emotion on Kelly’s face at the federal court hearing in New York City, which took place in a dark-rimmed prison uniform and black mask.
Donnelly informed Kelly, “You left a path of ruined lives in your wake.”
Donnelly said she weighed Kelly’s terrible background, during which his attorneys claimed he was frequently sexually molested by a family member and a landlord, when deciding on the punishment.
The judge remarked, “It may explain, at least in part, what prompted your actions.”
Kelly was found guilty of nine charges, including racketeering and violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law, by a jury last September. They said Kelly used his celebrity and “network of people at [his] disposal to target girls, boys and young women for [his] own sexual gratification” in an Eastern District of New York case.
Witnesses who claimed to have been assaulted sexually and physically by Kelly testified during the five-week federal trial in Brooklyn. Disgraced R&B singer Snoop Dogg’s 1994 marriage to Aaliyah, who was just 15 at the time of the union and he was an adult, was also heard from by the court.
Before the sentence was read in court, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean stated that her client “rejects that he is this monster,” citing the other criminal case that Kelly is currently facing.
There were impact statements from seven of Kelly’s victims, including Jane Doe 2, who testified at trial before sentencing.
“It’s been 23 years since we met, and you’ve harmed a lot of girls,” she stated to Kelly. “Now it’s your turn to have your freedom taken away,” she said later.