R&B star R. Kelly faces the possibility of a quarter-century or more in prison when he was convicted Wednesday in a federal sex-trafficking case in New York.
A jury found Kelly, 55, guilty of fraud and other charges last year in a trial that was seen as a special moment in the #MeToo movement.
Outrage about Kelly’s sexual misconduct with young women and children was in part fueled by the widely viewed documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which gives a voice to accusers, who say wondered if their stories had previously been ignored because they were Black women.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly will deliver the sentence in a federal court in Brooklyn after hearing testimony from victims and possibly Kelly herself.
Prosecutors are seeking a 25-year minimum term, while the defense says a sentence of 10 years or less is all he deserves.
Kelly’s attorneys argued in court papers that he should be given a break in part because he “experienced a traumatic childhood involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse , poverty and violence.”
They added: “His victimization continued into adulthood, where, due to illiteracy, the defendant was repeatedly defrauded and financially abused, often by people he had paid for. money to protect him.”
The jury convicted the “I Believe I Can Fly” hitmaker after hearing about how he used his entourage of managers and aides to meet girls and keep them obedient, an active prosecutor said is a criminal enterprise.
Several accusers testified that Kelly subjected them to depraved and brutal acts while they were underage.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, used her “fame, money, and popularity” to “predicate children and young women for sexual gratification,” prosecutors wrote in the filing. their own profile earlier this month.
The accusers allege they were ordered to sign non-disclosure forms and subject to threats and punishments such as violent spanking if they broke what is known as “Rob’s rule”.
Some said they believed the tapes he filmed of them having sex would be used against them if they revealed what was going on.
There is testimony Kelly gave several whistleblowers without disclosing he had an STD, forcing a teenage boy to join him for sex with a naked girl who surfaced from underneath the boxing ring in his garage, and shot an embarrassing video of a victim showing her smeared with faeces on her face as punishment for breaking his rules. .
Evidence was also presented of a fraudulent marriage plot put in place to protect Kelly after he feared he had laced R&B Aaliyah in 1994 when she was 15 years old. He was 27 years old then.
Aaliyah worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.” She died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.
An earlier defense memo showed prosecutors’ argument for a higher sentence by perjury. Kelly was involved in offering a bribe to a government official to facilitate the marriage. illegal.
Kelly’s attorneys also said it was wrong to insist he should have been given more time because he sexually abused one of his victims – known in court as “Jane” – after his parents she naively entrusts him to help her in her musical career.
“Records show that Jane’s parents instructed Jane to lie to the defendant about her age and then encouraged her to seduce him,” the paper said.
Kelly has been jailed without bail since 2019. He still faces child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago, where the trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. August 15.