When R. Kelly is sentenced Wednesday on charges of sexually abusing multiple women, young girls, and boys, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Kelly, 55, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn after being found guilty in September on nine charges, including racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of women and girls across state lines for a “immoral purpose.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., and several women are expected to speak in court, including some who testified at Kelly’s trial last year.
The maximum sentence for the 55-year-old R&B artist is life in prison, with a minimum term of ten years. According to the prosecution, he needs to serve at least 25 years in prison. He should only receive the mandatory minimum term of ten years, according to his legal team, because he “does not currently pose a risk to the public.”
The musician, who is best known for the hit songs I Believe I Can Fly and Ignition (Remix), was revealed to be the mastermind of a coercive and violent plot to seduce women and children for his sex abuse. During the six-week trial, witnesses described how he trafficked women for two decades across several US states with the help of managers, security personnel, and other entourage members.
The singer of “I believe I can fly,” whose real name is Robert Kelly, has been requested to serve more than 25 years in prison by the prosecution, who claims that Kelly used his wealth and notoriety to “both carry and conceal his crimes.” In a 31-page sentencing brief, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York stated that the defendant “continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held accountable.”
Kelly was portrayed by the prosecution during the trial as a predator with a history of abuse that spanned decades and who had no remorse for his actions.
Witnesses described Kelly’s plan to have Aaliyah legally wed in 1994 when she was only 15 and he was 27. Kelly allegedly married the woman out of worry that she was expecting and in an effort to avoid being charged with having sex with a child and prevent her from testifying against him. Aaliyah was given a fictitious birth certificate claiming she was 18 in order to facilitate the marriage, according to testimony from a former member of Kelly’s entourage.
At the age of 22, Aaliyah perished in a plane accident in 2001. Additionally, Kelly is charged with obstruction and pornography on a federal level in Illinois and Minnesota, respectively.
Although the Grammy winner notoriously lost control during a 2019 CBS News interview with Gayle King and categorically denied any misconduct, he did not testify in his own defence during his New York trial. The series “Surviving R. Kelly,” which detailed a number of the allegations against him, aired shortly after the interview.
He has the option to speak at his sentence on Wednesday.