For the first time, R. Kelly in a courtroom was for sentencing. Appearing at a Brooklyn Courthouse, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
According to The New York Times, R. Kelly appeared in front of Judge Ann M. Donnelly wearing black eyeglasses and a khaki shirt. Donnelly presided over Kelly’s trial and addressed each count Kelly was convicted of, including racketeering and violation of the Mann Act, which outlaws interstate transportation of women and girls for “immoral purpose.” R. Kelly sat at the defense table and greeted the judge with “good morning.”
After his sentencing, Judge Donnelly stated, “the public has to be protected from behaviors like this.” R. Kelly declined a statement due to pending litigation. He confirmed his denial to the judge in court.
In a pre-sentencing memo, R. Kelly was stated to use his fame and money to “conceal his crimes.”
“He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York wrote in the memo.
R. Kelly is represented by Jennifer Bonjean, who also represented Bill Cosby, and asked for a sentence of under 14 years. Bonjean also argued that R. Kelly’s sentence should “not [be] based on inflamed emotions,” but instead on the nature of the charges. During the sentencing, six women testified to the horrors of their experiences with the R&B star. Bonjean also advocated for R. Kelly’s upbringing, citing he was sexually abused as a child and lived in an unstable environment.
R. Kelly is also facing trial in Chicago federal court for child pornography and obstruction charges in August. He is expected to be transferred back to his hometown after sentencing.