Disgraced R&B star, R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison months after he was convicted on all nine counts against him in a high-profile sex trafficking case.
Kelly, 55, was convicted on sex trafficking and racketeering charges last September following a six-week trial.
Judge Ann M. Donnelly on Wednesday, June 29, handed down Kelly’s sentence, despite the defense lawyers’ request for a sentence of 10 years or less. Prosecutors had asked for at least 25 years.
Judge Donnelly told Kelly he created ‘a trail of broken lives,’ adding that ‘the most seasoned investigators will not forget the horrors your victims endured.’
‘These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,’ she said. ‘You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.’
Kelly, who declined to speak on Wednesday, learned his fate after his accusers told the court, through tears and anger, that he had preyed on them and misled his fans. He was also was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.
Kelly has been detained at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since his trial. It has not been revealed where Kelly would spend his sentence.
His lawyers had argued he should get no more than 10 years in prison because he had a traumatic childhood ‘involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence.’
As an adult with ‘literacy deficiencies,’ the star was ‘repeatedly defrauded and financially abused, often by the people he paid to protect him,’ his lawyers said.
Allegations that Kelly abused young girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s. He was sued in 1997 by a woman who alleged sexual battery and sexual harassment while she was a minor, and he later faced criminal child pornography charges related to a different girl in Chicago. A jury there acquitted him in 2008, and he settled the lawsuit.
Earlier on Wednesday, several women who testified against Kelly during the trial spoke about how he had promised to mentor them and help them attain stardom, only to subject them to degrading sexual treatment and physical harm. Many said the abuse led to mental health problems that persist.
He is still set to stand trial in Chicago on charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice. He also faces charges in Minnesota and federal charges of pornography and obstruction in Illinois.
The Brooklyn federal court jury convicted him after hearing that he used his entourage of managers and aides to meet girls and keep them obedient, an operation that prosecutors said amounted to a criminal enterprise.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, used his ‘fame, money and popularity’ to systematically ‘prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification,’ prosecutors wrote in a court filing earlier this month.
Several accusers testified that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.
Seven of them delivered impact statements before he was sentenced.
One of the victims, Angela, stood in court, looked directly at Kelly and called him a ‘Pied Piper’ who ‘lured children with his money and celebrity.’
‘With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness,’ she said. ‘You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification.’
‘Today we reclaim our names,’ she said. ‘We are no longer the preyed-upon individuals we once were.’
‘I pray that god reaches your soul,’ she said, as Kelly glanced up at her briefly before lowering his eyes back to the table where he sat.
The second victim to speak in court on Wednesday said she never knew that a concert in September of 1994 would change her life forever.
Addie, who previously testified at Kelly’s trial but never gave her name, took several breaths before reading her statement Wednesday.
‘I never knew that going to that concert in September of 1994 was going to change me forever,’ she said.
Addie said she was a fan of the singer Aaliyah. Aaliyah, who R Kelly married when she was 15, died in a plane crash at age 22.
Addie says Kelly sexually assaulted her on the night of his concert and did not see him again until the trial.
For decades, she stayed silent, because ‘it was a time of silence,’ she said, which is something she says she now regrets.
‘The last four years have been a rude awakening of how my silence has hurt others.’
At Kelly’s sentencing on Wednesday, one of the women featured in the docuseries, Lizette Martinez, spoke to the court with attorney Gloria Allred by her side.
‘January 1995 eventually changed me forever,’ Martinez said, referring to the day she met Kelly at a mall.
Martinez, 17, was an aspiring singer and Kelly had promised to mentor her. But Martinez says he started abusing her two months after they met.
‘I was left in shock, confused and in tears,’ she said.
‘I do not know how to put a price on all I’ve gone through. I am now 45, a mother and I struggle with mental health.’
Kelly did not look at Kelly Martinez as she spoke.
‘Robert, you destroyed so many people’s lives,’ she told him.
A fourth victim, identified as Jane Doe No. 2, addressed the court next, detailing how a sweaty Kelly would make her perform oral sex on him after he had returned from playing basketball.
‘I felt special, because someone who was special to the world was interested in me,’ she said.
As she continued on with her statement, Kelly began to speak with his lawyers prompting the witness to stop and hold up her hand.
‘I’m sorry,’ she said, looking at Kelly. ‘I don’t want to interrupt his conversation.’
‘No price is too high to pay for your happiness,’ she said. ‘I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life.’
The next woman, Kitti Jones, said that Kelly did things to her that she ‘plans to take to my grave.’
A fifth woman to speak, Kitti Jones, said that Kelly did things to her that she ‘plans to take to my grave.’
‘Many of us have been waiting for this day to come,’ she added.
The next woman to give her statement, only identified as Faith, spoke directly to Kelly, with her father by her side.
‘I hope you forgive yourself,’ she said as she began to cry. ‘I forgive myself.