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R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison on federal sex trafficking charges

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R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison on federal sex trafficking charges at a court hearing in New York on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly. He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release and a $100,000 fine.

Prosecutors advised the Chicago-based R&B star at least 25 years in prisonwhile the defense argued for a sentence of 10 years or less.


Kelly at 55 Convicted of racketeering and other charges last year.

In a news conference after the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Brian Pease of the Eastern District of New York thanked the women for coming forward, saying they were “heard and believed” and that “justice was finally served.”

“R. Kelly is a predator who will serve a long sentence for his crimes as a result of our prosecution,” he said.

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Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said “he was clearly shocked by the verdict” but noted that it “was not a big surprise.” She added that his team plans to appeal.

Women’s attorney Gloria Allred called Kelly a “skilled sexual predator” and applauded the “brave” women who came forward.

“They were able to stand up to his power by being capable young women themselves,” she told a news conference outside the courthouse on Wednesday.

“It was a long road to justice, but they were all very brave and sacrificed a lot of time to cooperate and testify,” she later added.

A woman who identified herself as Lizzette Martinez said she was 17 when she was accused of abuse. She is now 45 years old.

“I never thought I’d be here to see him take responsibility for the brutality he did to children,” she said. “I don’t know what to say other than gratitude.”

Another woman, who identified herself as Jovante, said she was 14 when she “meeted” Kelly.

“Until this moment, there was not a day in my life that I believed that this justice system would help black and brown girls,” she said, adding that she was “happy” and “overwhelmed” by the verdict.

The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’s misconduct has come under fresh scrutiny after a 2019 documentary called “Surviving R. Kelly” in which accusers spoke candidly about their relationship with him experience. Some claimed they were asked to sign confidential forms and were subjected to threats and violence.

In court proceedings on Wednesday, the victims took sides, some in tears, saying Kelly preyed on and abused them and misled his fans. Kelly did not make eye contact with the victim as he spoke, with his hands on the defense table, looking straight ahead or down.

A victim identified in court as Stephanie said Kelly had decades of ruthless freedom and said she hoped he would spend the rest of his life in jail. “You made me do something that broke my nerves…I really wish I was going to die for the way you made me feel.”

One of the victims, identified as Angela, said Kelly “manipulated” millions of people into believing how he thought of himself and took away the victim’s voice. “Today, I and many of your victims got it back,” she said. “Today, we seek to be heard… We no longer feed on the individual.”

Allegations of Kelly’s abuse of young girls began circulating in the 1990s. He was indicted in 1997 by a woman who accused her of sexual assault and harassment as a minor and later faced criminal charges of child pornography in connection with another girl. In 2008, a Chicago jury acquitted him, and Kelly settled the lawsuit.

Evidence has also surfaced over the years about the late R&B singer Aaliyah. Witnesses said they were married in matching jogging clothes, using a fake license that said she was 18 instead of 15. Kelly was 27 at the time. Aaliyah, who made music for Kelly, died in a plane crash in 2001.

Kelly, who did not testify at the trial, has denied wrongdoing.

He has been jailed without bail since 2019. He still faces child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago.That The trial is scheduled to begin in August.

Sophie Reardon contributed reporting.

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