R. Kelly will be spending the next 30 years behind bars in relation to his sex trafficking case.
On June 29, a judge announced the singer's sentence in a Brooklyn federal court, which came nine months after a jury found him guilty on all nine counts in his sexual abuse trial. He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release and a $100,000 fine.
The charges—which involved six female victims, inclusive of the late singer Aaliyah (who married R. Kelly in 1994 when she was 15 years old)—included racketeering, bribery, coercion, enticement and sex trafficking. The 55-year-old, born Robert Kelly, has denied any wrongdoing and previously pleaded not guilty to all counts against him. The accusations against him span from at least 1992 to 2017.
Over the course of the highly publicized trial that began in federal court in Brooklyn last August, prosecutors called on dozens of witnesses to testify, including female and male accusers who claimed they were groomed for sex and endured psychological abuse while they were underage.
According to NBC News, the accusers alleged they were forced to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments if they broke, as one victim described it, "Rob's rules."
In a filing from early June, per the outlet, prosecutors said R. Kelly used his "fame, money and popularity" to "prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification." In court papers filed by the singer's attorneys, they contended that he should get a break in his sentencing judgement, partly due to him experiencing a "traumatic childhood involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence."
In January 2019, allegations against the singer were met with renewed attention following the premiere of Lifetime's docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly. The six-part feature, which included claims from a number of accusers, led to public calls for an official investigation.
R. Kelly has been behind bars since his arrest in July 2019. Per NBC News, the performer is still facing child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago. His trial for that case is set to begin August 15.
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