Hike sentence

R. Kelly gets 30-year sentence in racketeering case

R. Kelly appears in an Illinois state courtroom in a 2019 file photo.

R&B singer R.Kelly55, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday following his racketeering conviction last year for using a coterie of enablers to sexually abuse minors for decades.

During the launch of opening statements for his trial in August 2021, the Assistant United States Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez told jurors, “This case is about a predator.”

The government called some 45 witnesses during the trial and presented hundreds of exhibits to move the case forward. Prosecutors argued that the ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ crooner’s inner circle of corporate executives, security guards and bouncers, runners, lawyers, accountants and assistants conspired to perpetuating the cycle of abuse, providing the backdrop to pursue the matter as a criminal enterprise. .

“R. Kelly used his fame, fortune and enablers to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification, while many turned a blind eye,” the U.S. District Attorney said. Eastern New York. Breon Peace written in a press release. “By his actions, Kelly showed complete disregard for the devastation his crimes had on his victims and showed no remorse for his conduct. With today’s sentence, he finally and to rightly been held accountable for its decades of abuse, exploitation and degradation of adolescents and other vulnerable young people.

A backup singer for Kelly testifying under the pseudonym “Angela” allegedly testified during her trial that R. Kelly had sex with her in her apartment in 1991, when she was 14 or 15, according to BuzzFeed. ‘Angela’ also told a jury that she caught Kelly performing oral sex Aaliyah Dana Haughton, known as the “Princess of R&B”. Aaliyah would have been 13 at the time.

According The New York Times, she delivered remarks directly to Kelly during her sentencing.

“With each addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness,” Angela reportedly said. “You have used your fame and power to groom and train underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification.”

Prosecutors said Kelly married Aaliyah, bribing a government employee to get her a fake ID that falsely stated she was 18, after she became pregnant but was still a minor. The marriage was later annulled and Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001 aged 22.

Another witness, testifying under the pseudonym “Louis”, said he was an aspiring rapper when he met Kelly.

“When the defendant had Louis alone, he asked Louis, who had dreams of becoming a rapper, what Louis was willing to do to succeed in the business, after which the defendant gave Louis, still 17 years old years, oral sex and videotaped their sexual encounter,” the government memo on the sentencing reads.

Prosecutors say Kelly’s racketeering scheme involved bribes, production of child pornography, forced labor, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual acts. The government asked for a sentence of more than 25 years in prison.

Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer bonjeanwho helped Bill Cosby granted his freedom on appeal, calculated that the guidelines ranged from 14 to 17.5 years imprisonment and asked for a sentence below that range.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly rejected Kelly’s offer for a new trial. Kelly claimed his previous attorney had failed to select an impartial jury, but Donnelly was unconvinced.

“The record shows that the attorney who conducted the voir dire — an attorney with years of experience in criminal trials in state and federal courts — actively participated in the process,” Donnelly wrote. “Before the Court interviewed potential jurors, attorneys went through the questionnaires and made decisions about which jurors to interview and which to recuse for cause. Once the oral voir dire began, the lawyers demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the information contained in the questionnaires and frequently asked the Court to ask additional questions of the prospective jurors. »

The Law&Crime network Sierra Gillespie reported that Judge Donnelly told Kelly he had created a “trail of shattered lives” and horrified even the “most seasoned investigators”.

Read the decision rejecting Kelly’s offer for a new trial below:

(R. Kelly via Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images)

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