R&B singer R. Kelly was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was convicted last year on all nine counts against him in a high-profile sex trafficking case. According to CNN, prosecutors wanted more than 25 years behind bars for the singer but his defence attorneys asked for 10 or less, saying prosecutors’ request was “tantamount to a life sentence.”
Reading his judgement, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly said Kelly’s crimes were calculated and planned. “You left in your wake a trail of broken lives,” Donnelly told Kelly. “These crimes were calculated and carefully planned, and regularly executed for almost 25 years. You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.”
Reports now say that prior to his sentencing, Kelly’s lawyers sent a letter to the court noting that not only is the 55-year-old sick due to diabetes but that his wealth is gone due to Kelly being “repeatedly defrauded and financially abused.”
They further noted that the R&B singer once had a $900 million fortune — and lost it all, according to Finurah.
“[Kelly’s] literacy deficiencies have led to chronic victimization in adulthood. [Kelly] has been financially exploited his entire adult life. At one point in his career, he was told he was worth $900 million; he is now destitute,” the lawyers reportedly wrote.
Last September, a jury convicted the singer on all nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering after less than two days of deliberations. “Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification,” Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the EDNY, said in a news release following the verdict at the time.
Kelly had been accused of grooming and sexually abusing women and underage girls. The charges included one count of racketeering and eight counts of illegally transporting people across state lines for the purpose of sex. Nine women and two men appeared in court to testify against the singer, claiming that he sexually abused them.
Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, denied all the charges against him. But prosecutors accused him of being a predator who used his fame and influence to attract fans into his circle, where he would demand them to either obey him or be punished. After six weeks, his sex-trafficking trial in New York came to a close last September.
It was reported at the time that the singer will face a “mandatory minimum” of 10 years behind bars and could face life in prison for crimes including violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex trafficking law that prohibits taking anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
The USAO-EDNY said in a release last year that Kelly had for almost three decades served as the “leader” of a “criminal enterprise” that also consisted of others including personal assistants, bodyguards and managers.
“As the leader of the Enterprise, Kelly used his fame to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with him,” the USAO-EDNY said.
Following his sentencing last week, it was reported that Kelly was being held at the Metropolitan detention centre in Brooklyn. Officials may move him back to Chicago, where he faces another federal trial in August on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges.