R&B artist Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R Kelly, was sentenced to a 30-year jail term on Wednesday.
Kelly is well-known for his work on the smash hit “Trapped in the Closet,” a multi-part story of infidelity, and the 1996 classic “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Kelly was accused of exploiting the vulnerability of his victims, using fame to lure them into his web.
His sentencing came after his federal extortion and sex trafficking convictions from last year. He is also accused by several people of subjecting teenage victims to bizarre, inhumane, and brutal activities.
In September 2021, a jury found Kelly guilty of nine charges, including one for racketeering and eight for violating the Mann Act, which prohibits sex trafficking.
According to AP news, he also recorded a humiliating video in which one victim was shown applying feces to her face as a penalty for disobeying him.
Kelly still maintains his innocence saying that he did nothing wrong. He didn’t testify during his trial, but his lawyers painted his accusers as lovers and groupies who stayed with him because they benefited from his lifestyle and weren’t coerced into anything.
The 55-year-old’s defense counsel requested a sentence of 10 years or less, arguing that the prosecution’s proposal was “tantamount to a life sentence.”
“Mr. Kelly has had horrific labels slapped on him. But he’s not obligated to own them,” one of his defense lawyers, Jennifer Bonjean, told the judge before the sentence was announced.
However, contrary to what his attorneys suggested, the prosecutors had urged the judge to sentence the man to more than 25 years in prison.
According to prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York, Kelly was charged with taking advantage of his fame and “network of people” to target children and young adults for his personal sexual satisfaction.