R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison in New York sex trafficking case
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CHICAGO (CBS)– Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, after he was convicted last year of racketeering and sex trafficking charges in New York.

Kelly also faces five years of supervised release after he completes his prison sentence, and has been fined $100,000.

Federal prosecutors in New York had asked a judge to sentence Kelly to at least 25 years behind bars, while Kelly’s defense team was seeking the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’s misconduct received a new round of scrutiny after a docuseries aired in 2019 called “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which accusers spoke candidly about their experiences with him. Some alleged they were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms, and were subjected to threats and violence.

Kelly has been jailed without bail since 2019. He is still facing child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago. That trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 15.

Through tears and anger, R. Kelly’s accusers told a court Wednesday he had preyed on them and misled his fans, while the fallen R&B star awaited sentencing on his federal sex trafficking conviction.

“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” one woman told the Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling singer. She said she was forever traumatized by her teenage experience with him.

“Do you remember that?” she asked.

A jury last September found Kelly, 55, guilty of all charges at a racketeering and sex trafficking trial in federal court in Brooklyn.

Several accusers testified in lurid detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected his victims to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.

Kelly used his “fame, money and popularity” to systematically “prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing recommendation for Kelly.

“He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account,” prosecutors wrote.

Among multiple sordid allegations, jurors heard testimony about a fraudulent marriage scheme hatched to protect Kelly after he feared he had impregnated R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15. Witnesses said they were married in matching jogging suits using a license falsely listing her age as 18; he was 27 at the time.

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 age 22.

Kelly’s conviction last year was seen as a signature moment in the #MeToo movement.

Outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct with young women and children was fueled in part by the widely watched docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which gave voice to accusers who wondered whether their stories were previously ignored because they were Black women.  

Kelly also faces a trial on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in federal court in Chicago, starting Aug. 15.

The federal charges against Kelly in Chicago accuse him of videotaping himself having sex with underage girls, and paying hush money and intimidating witnesses to cover up his crimes.

He’s also facing multiple sexual assault and sexual abuse charges in Cook County. The first of those trials has been delayed multiple times due to the pandemic.

He’s also facing charges of prostitution involving a child in Minnesota.

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