R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual abuse and trafficking, following his conviction last year.
Last September, the disgraced R&B star stood trial in New York City for racketeering and sex trafficking. The jury found him guilty on all nine accounts, including one charge of racketeering and eight counts of violating the anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act. Kelly has been detained at the Metropolitan detention centre in Brooklyn since the verdict.
On Wednesday (29th June), US District Judge Ann Donnelly imposed the sentence at the federal court in Brooklyn U.S. after she and the court heard seven statements from survivors about the impact of Kelly’s exploitation on their lives. She also ordered Kelly, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, to pay a $100,000 fine, according to the Associated Press.
“The horrors your victims endured,” Donnelly said during the sentencing. “No price was too high to pay for your happiness.”
The court heard from Kelly's accusers, who described a pattern of violence that went on for decades. “You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” said one unnamed survivor, directly addressing Kelly, “Do you remember that?” she asked.
Lizzette Martinez, who was just 17 when she met Kelly at a Florida mall, said in her victim statement: “Robert, you destroyed so many people’s lives.”
Kelly did not address the court.
The 'Ignition' and 'I Believe I Can Fly' singer was represented by Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer who represented Billy Cosby. Kelly has denied his involvement in any wrongdoing and plans to appeal his conviction. “He disagrees with the characterisations that have been made about him,” said Bonjean.
Kelly is currently facing another federal trial in Chicago for child pornography and obstruction-of-justice charges, which is due to begin on 15th August.