American singer, R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the long-awaited conclusion of his federal sex trafficking case in New York.
A jury had last September found the disgraced singer guilty of all counts, which included one charge of racketeering related to the sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, and forced labor, as well as eight charges of violating the Mann Act, which outlaws the transportation of a person across state lines for illegal sexual activity.
Kelly was arrested in 2019, and during his time in jail he’s gone broke, been attacked by an inmate, and complained of gaining weight. This past February he caught COVID-19.
His case has encountered numerous delays and setbacks, most recently when he hired attorney Jennifer Bonjean, who had successfully overturned the conviction against Bill Cosby, and fired the rest of his legal team. On June 14th, Bonjean asked Judge Donnelly to sentence Kelly to the 10-year mandatory minimum.
“Our position is that the mandatory minimum sentence is appropriate in this case,” Bonjean said. “There is significant mitigating evidence, particularly related to his extremely traumatic childhood that shaped him as an adult.” Bonjean filed this sentencing memorandum under seal, suggesting that the document included intimate details about sexual abuse Kelly suffered as a child.
Meanwhile, prosecutors asked for a sentence exceeding 25 years due to his “long and pervasive history of enticing children to engage in sexual activity.”
In a 31-page sentencing filing, prosecutors wrote, “He lured young girls and boys into his orbit, often through empty or conditioned promises of assistance in developing a career in the entertainment industry or simply by playing into the minors’ understandable desire to meet and spend time with a popular celebrity.”
This is hardly the end of Kelly’s legal troubles. He’ll stand federal trial in Illinois, where prosecutors allege that he helped fix the 2008 trial for child pornography that ended in his acquittal. He’s also facing state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.