R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison
R&B Singer R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, following a conviction in federal court last year on sex trafficking and racketeering charges. He faced seven of his accusers today in court who gave victim impact statements recounting their experiences with the singer.
Prosecutors had called for him to receive more than 25 years behind bars in order to “protect the public” from the singer. He was convicted on nine counts last September, which included one racketeering and eight counts of Mann Act violations.
Gloria Allred, who is representing the three women who testified against R Kelly, told reporters that “no one can undo the harm that has been done to these victims.”
Defense attorneys representing R Kelly are hopeful that details revealing their client’s own abuse as a child will move the judge to offer the singer a lighter sentence.
They had called for a sentence of 10 years or fewer, arguing that anything beyond that would be indefensible. The attorneys have claimed that the prosecution’s desire to lock the 55-year-old singer up for 25 years is “tantamount to a life sentence.”
US Attorney calls R Kelly a ‘predator’ following sentencing
Breon Peace, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, spoke with reporters after R Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking.
“R Kelly is a predator,” he said. “He continued committing his crimes for almost 30 years and avoided punishment – until today. These are the voices of mostly Black and brown women and children who were heard and believed. Justice was finally achieved. This is a victory for them, for justice, and victims of sexual assault. Victims must be heard, perpetrators must be held accountable, and women and children must be protected.”
He said he hopes the sentencing shows that “it doesn’t matter how rich [and] famous” an abuser is to be brought to justice.
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 21:10
Judge tells R Kelly he taught victims that ‘love is enslavement and violence’
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced R Kelly to 30 years in prison on Wednesday.
Following her ruling, she told the singer that he used the promise of love as a vehicle for abuse.
“You had a system in place that lured young people into your orbit, and then you took over their lives… You taught them that love is enslavement and violence,” she said.
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 20:56
R Kelly’s lawyer said he was ‘prepared’ for ruling
R Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, told reporters he was “prepared” for his sentencing today. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his sex trafficking and racketeering convictions.
She told reporters that he is “not a predator.”
“He has regrets and he is sad,” she said. “He disagrees with the characterizations that have been made about him.”
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 20:50
R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison
R&B singer R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison on sex trafficking and racketeering charges.
Read more in the story below:
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 20:09
R Kelly’s hearing resumes
R Kelly’s sentencing hearing has resumed after an hour break.
The singer’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, argued to the court that R Kelly should be sentenced based on the nature of his conviction in September and not based on “inflamed emotions” invoked by the victim impact statements given prior to the break.
The defense is focusing its arguments for a lighter sentence around the singer’s upbringing in an abusive home.
Ms Bonjean told the court that the singer was the son of a single mother and grew up in a “chaotic home.” She said he was sexually abused and that those experiences were critical to who he became in adulthood.
She said “Mr Kelly rejects that he’s this monster.”
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 20:03
Victims accuse R Kelly of ‘deplorable, inexplicable acts’ in harrowing sentencing impact statements
Seven women who were abused by R Kelly spoke Wednesday during his sentencing hearing, recounting the pain they have dealt with as a result of the singer’s crimes.
With every addition of a new victim you grew in wickedness, cockiness, diminishing any form of humanity or self-awareness,” one victim said during the hearing.
Jenna Amatulli has more from the victims in the story below:
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 19:24
Hearing breaks until 2:30pm EST
R Kelly’s sentencing hearing has paused until 2:30pm EST.
Prior to the break, seven women gave victim impact statements recounting how the singer abused them.
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 18:31
Victims says she’ll take what R Kelly did to her ‘to my grave’
Kitti Jones, another victim giving a statement during R Kelly’s sentencing hearing, said she would take the things he did to her “to my grave.”
After her, another woman, going by the name Faith, took the stand and said she hoped R Kelly can forgive himself. She said that she had forgiven herself and began to cry, after which her father put his arms around her shoulder.
He then spoke and asked R Kelly to look at him.
“I didn’t come here to bash Mr. Kelly,” he said. “I do want to ask you, Mr. Kelly, to look at me, man to man, father to father. Put yourself in my shoes. I’ve certainly put myself in your shoes.”
Mr Kelly did not meet his gaze.
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 18:30
‘I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life’: Fourth victim speaks out
A fourth victim issued a statement during R Kelly’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
The woman was known only as Jane Doe No 2, and said R Kelly would often force her to perform oral sex on him after he would return covered in sweat from basketball games with his friends.
“I felt special, because someone who was special to the world was interested in me,” she said.
A tense moment occurred during her statement when R Kelly began speaking with his lawyers during her statement. The victim stopped speaking and directed her attention to the singer.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to interrupt his conversation,” she said. “No price is too high to pay for your happiness.”
She then said she hoped that he would be imprisoned for the rest of his life.
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 18:20
Third victim gives impact statement
A third victim gave a statement during R Kelly’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday. Lizette Martinez was an aspiring singer when she met R Kelly and was later featured in a documentary called “Surviving R Kelly.”
She said R Kelly had agreed to mentor her as a singer, but that relationship became abusive about two months after they began meeting.
“I was left in shock, confused and in tears,” she said.
She said now, as a 45-year-old mother, she struggles with mental health issues stemming from her abuse at the singer’s hands.
Ms Martinez told R Kelly that he “destroyed so many people’s lives.” He did not look at her during her statement.
Graig Graziosi29 June 2022 18:10