By: Graeme Massie
In a sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors have asked the judge to imprison Kelly for “in excess of 25 years”, and also reminded the judge that Kelly qualifies for a life sentence. Prosecutors are also asking of a fine of between $50,000 and $250,00, when he is sentenced on Wednesday in New York. “In light of the seriousness of the offences, the need for specific deterrence and the need to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant, as well as the other factors set forth in [federal law], the government respectfully submits that a sentence in excess of 25 years is warranted,” prosecutors wrote.
The disgraced singer had faced a string of allegations about his behavior with women for years as he racked up hits and awards, while all the time denying any wrongdoing. But public and legal scrutiny on Kelly increased as more allegations surfaced against him during the #MeToo reckoning, some of which were documented by his victims in the 2019 TV series Surviving R. Kelly. And those allegations finally caught up with the singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, in a Brooklyn courtroom last September after a six-week trial, when a New York jury returned its verdict.
Kelly sat motionless as he was convicted on one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, and sex trafficking charges. He was also convicted on eight additional counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law. Racketeering is most commonly used in organized crime cases but can also be used to prosecute any ongoing coordinated illegal scheme or criminal enterprise to carry out a common purpose.
The verdict was the first criminal conviction against R Kelly. In 2008, he was acquitted by a Cook County jury of child pornography charges alleging he videotaped himself having sex with a girl as young as 13. Now Kelly will always be known as a predator after his convictions, said Acting US Attorney from the Eastern District Jacquelyn Kasulis outside the court after the 2021 verdict was returned. She said that Kelly, who will now faces 10 years to life imprisonment, is “a predator who used his inner circle to ensnare underage girls and young men and women for decades, in a sordid web of sex abuse, exploitation and humiliation.”
And she added: “This conviction would not have been possible without the bravery and resilience of R Kelly’s victims. I applaud their courage in revealing in open court, the painful, intimate and horrific details of their lives with him.” Victim’s rights attorney Gloria Allred represented three of the six victims who testified in the case. “First, he used the power of his celebrity to recruit vulnerable underage girls for the purpose of sexually abusing them. These were not May-October relationships, which is what his defense attorney wanted the jury to believe — these were crimes against children and some adults,” Ms Allred said after the conviction.
“Second, to use the power of his business enterprise and many of his inner circle employees to assist him and enable him in his plan and his scheme to lure his victims to him, isolate them, intimidate them, control them, indoctrinate them, punish them, shame them, and humiliate them “All of which made Mr Kelly more powerful and more dangerous than many other sexual predators who operate without a network of financial and businesses to support and enable them.” And she added: “I have been practicing law for 47 years. During this time I have pursued many sexual predators who have committed crimes against women and children.
“Of all the predators that I have pursued, however, Mr. Kelly is the worst, for many reasons.” Since his conviction, Kelly has sat behind bars at a federal detention center in New York. Despite facing a potential life sentence in federal prison when he is sentenced, he also faced pending federal charges in his hometown of Chicago, where he is charged with child pornography and obstruction of justice. He is due to go to trial in Illinois on 1 August and his lawyers had wanted his New York sentencing postponed until its conclusion.
A judge refused that motion, but did move the sentencing from 4 May to 15 June because of a delay in the filing of a presentence report.