R Kelly: Prosecutors ask for singer to serve 25 more years in prison for child pornography convictions | US News

Prosecutors have asked a judge to give R&B singer R Kelly 25 more years in prison for convictions for child pornography and enticing minors for sex.

It would mean the 56-year-old would not be eligible for release until he was around 100 if the judge agrees to both the 25-year sentence and another government requests Kelly to begin the sentence only after the 30 years he has already begun serving in another case.

The singer, full name Robert Sylvester Kelly, was found guilty last year in Chicago on six of 13 counts – three counts each of producing child pornography and enticing minors for sex.

The Grammy Award-winner had already been convicted in New York of racketeering and sex trafficking and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In their sentencing recommendation filed today in the US District Court in Chicago, government lawyers described Kelly’s behaviour as “sadistic” and called him “a serial sexual predator” who has no remorse and who “poses a serious danger to society”.

“The only way to ensure Kelly does not reoffend is to impose a sentence that will keep him in prison for the rest of his life,” the filing says.

However, Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, wrote in a filing last week that even with his existing 30-year New York sentence “Kelly would have to defy all statistical odds to make it out of prison alive.” She cited data showing the average life expectancy of inmates is 64.

Instead she recommended a sentence of around 10 years, which she said could be served simultaneously with the New York sentence.

R Kelly during a 2019 hearing in Chicago. Pic: Antonio Perez
R Kelly in court in 2019. Pic: Antonio Perez

Kelly singled out for behaviour white rock stars have gotten away with, lawyer says

Ms Bonjean argued Kelly was singled out for behaviour white rock stars have gotten away with for decades. “None have been prosecuted and none will die in prison,” she wrote.

Prosecutors have acknowledged a 25-year sentence in the Chicago case would be even more time than sentencing guidelines recommend, but they argued imposing a long sentence and instructing it to be served only after the New York sentence was appropriate.

“A consecutive sentence is eminently reasonable given the egregiousness of Kelly’s conduct,” the filing argued. “Kelly’s sexual abuse of minors was intentional and prolific.”

Read more:
Everybody knew the accusations – so why did it take 30 years to get justice?

R Kelly arrives at his previous trial in 2019
R Kelly arriving at his trial in 2019

A plea for leniency

Ms Bonjean argued traumas throughout Kelly’s life, including abuse as a child and illiteracy throughout adulthood, justified leniency in his sentencing.

She said he “is not an evil monster but a complex (unquestionably troubled) human being who faced overwhelming challenges in childhood that shaped his adult life.”

Kelly is set to be sentenced in Chicago next Thursday.

Although abuse allegations began circulating in the 1990s, widespread outrage followed the #MeToo reckoning and the 2019 series Surviving R Kelly.

Kelly was known for chart-topping hits including I Believe I Can Fly, Bump ‘N’ Grind and Ignition.

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