R&B singer R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison

A New York judge has sentenced R&B singer Robert Kelly to 30 years in prison for sexual assault and racketeering.

Kelly, known professionally as R Kelly, was convicted last September by a federal jury in Brooklyn on nine charges against him related to human trafficking and racketeering, including sexually exploiting minors.

Breon Peace, the US attorney for New York’s Eastern District, said Kelly “used his fame, fortune and enablers to rob the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification while many turn a blind eye.”

Prosecutors said Kelly — with the help of his entourage, including managers, bodyguards and others — had used his position to abuse women and girls for nearly three decades. A BuzzFeed report in 2017 said he had held women in a “cult-like” setting, requiring them to ask him for permission to eat or use the bathroom.

Kelly showed a “heartless disregard for the devastation his crimes had on his victims and has shown no remorse for his conduct,” Peace said in a statement.

Kelly was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison. Government prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly to impose a prison sentence of more than 25 years. Kelly pleaded not guilty and his lawyers said he plans to appeal the verdict.

Kelly’s conviction came a day after Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced by a separate New York judge to 20 years in prison after being convicted of her years-long role in aiding and sometimes participating in the sexual abuse of underage girls by her former co-worker Jeffrey Epstein. .

Kelly was one of the most commercially successful artists of the 1990s and 2000s, with hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Ignition”.

Last fall’s conviction was widely regarded as one of the most high-profile criminal convictions in modern music history and had shed light on some of the industry’s practices, largely ignoring lawsuits and allegations of abuse by the singer dating back to the 1950s. 1990.

Following the ruling last year, YouTube shut down its official video channels on its website, marking the first major move to remove his music from the Internet.

“For nearly 30 years, Kelly and his accomplices have silenced his victims through bribery, intimidation, blackmail and physical assault, believing they were immune to justice,” said Steve Francis, acting executive associate director at Homeland Security Investigations. . “Today’s verdict is a victory that belongs to the survivors of Kelly’s abuse.”

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