Disgraced R&B singer R Kelly condemned to 30 years behind bars

R&B crooner Robert Sylvester Kelly, best known by his stage name R Kelly, was on Wednesday sentenced to 30 years in jail by the Brooklyn federal court.

The once global singing superstar was found guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering in September 2021.

Delivering the sentence, judge Ann Donnelly said the disgraced R&B singer spent over a decade intimidating and bribing his young victims. His demise started to unfold in 2019 when a documentary, Surviving R Kelly, was released. It told a story of the musician’s predatory activities. 

Even though he was cleared of 18 child pornography charges in 2008, the documentary dwelled on these long-standing claims and unveiled new ones. The docu-series featured interviews with victims, including his ex-wife of 13 years, who alleged that she was abused throughout their marriage.

Over the years, more victims came forward and helped the prosecutors to further strengthen the case against the singer. As a result, R Kelly was found guilty following a six-week trial featuring striking testimonies from 50 witnesses.

After years of capitalising on his fame and fortune to intimidate and silence his victims, he was at last condemned on all counts of racketeering and sex trafficking.

In his defence, R Kelly’s lawyers initially pleaded for a 10-year sentence, arguing that the singer had a traumatic childhood involving sex abuse, poverty and violence.

According to media reports, the lawyers also argued that R Kelly had a very low IQ, saying he is an adult with literacy deficiencies.

R Kelly, who will be serving his sentence in Chicago, will face another trial into allegations of child pornography and obstruction charges in August.

These are some the reactions to the sentencing:

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