R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, nearly a year after the singer was convicted of running a decades-long sex trafficking and abuse ring.
The prosecution had asked the Brooklyn court judge for 25 years in prison for the author of “I Believe I Can Fly”, who recruited teenagers and women to have sex. The public ministry argued that the 1990s R&B star still “represents a serious public danger.”
In September, a jury in New York found him guilty on 11 counts, including racketeering.
“His acts were brash, manipulative, controlling, and coercive. He showed no remorse or respect for the law,” the prosecution maintains in a document, in which it assures that a “long prison sentence will dissuade others – rich, famous and with excessive power such as the one that grants their status – from committing this types of crimes”.
The defense of the 55-year-old singer, currently incarcerated in a Brooklyn jail, had requested that the sentence not exceed 17 years.
But this ruling does not put an end to his problems with the law. Starting August 15, another trial is scheduled to begin in a Chicago court, where Kelly and two collaborators are accused of manipulating a 2008 trial for pornography and hiding years of child abuse.
The singer also has pending accounts with the justice in two other states.
R. Kelly and the #MeToo milestone
Many think Kelly’s conviction in New York cannot be understood without the #MeToo movement. It was the first trial of sexual abuse in which the majority of the complainants were black women. It is also the first time that Kelly has been convicted after years of rumors of abuse of women and girls.
The prosecution had to prove Kelly guilty of organized crime, a charge commonly linked to the mafia, considered the capo of a group of collaborators who facilitated the abuses.
With 45 witnesses, including the 11 victims, the accusation demonstrated the intricate criminal pattern that the artist wove, protected by his fame, to take advantage of women and young adolescents for his own sexual satisfaction.
To convict Kelly of racketeering, jurors had to find him guilty of at least two of 14 crimes known as “predicate acts,” which together constitute more serious felonies.
Indoctrination, coercion and cruelty
Testimonies of rape, drug addiction, imprisonment, and child pornography followed one another in the courtroom.
The accusers’ stories showed a pattern of behavior: many of the alleged victims said they had met the singer at concerts or performances in shopping malls, and that his entourage handed them slips of paper with Kelly’s contact. In return, they received the promise that he would help them with her musical career.
But according to the prosecution, they were all ” indoctrinated” into Kelly’s world, prepared to have sex at will, and controlled through “coercive means” such as isolation and cruel disciplinary measures, as evidenced by recordings heard during the trial.
The main evidence of the accusation is the relationship that Kelly had with the singer Aaliyah.
Kelly wrote and produced her first album, Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number, before illegally marrying her when she was 15 because he feared he had gotten her pregnant.
A former representative admitted in court that he bribed an official to obtain false documents so he could marry, a marriage that was later annulled.