A federal judge, Harry Leinenweber, gave the singer R Kelly a 20-year prison sentence on Thursday for his convictions on child sexual abuse images and enticing minors for sex charges. However, the judge also stated that he would concurrently serve nearly all of the sentence with a 30-year sentence he received last year on racketeering charges.
In addition, Harry Leinenweber mandated that Kelly spend a year in jail following his New York conviction.
Whether Leinenweber would order that the 56-year-old serve a sentence concurrently with or only after he completes the New York term for 2021 racketeering and sex trafficking convictions was the critical issue going into Kelly’s sentencing in his hometown of Chicago. That amounted to receiving a life sentence.
The prosecution admitted that Kelly’s chances of exiting jail alive could have been eliminated by a lengthy sentence served only after the New York sentence. However, they argued that doing so was justified based on his crimes against minors and lack of repentance.
With the sentence handed down on Thursday, Kelly will be available for release after serving a maximum of 31 years. But, unfortunately, that means he could be out by age 80.
At the beginning of the hearing, Leinenweber stated that he disagreed with the government’s claim that Kelly used fear to force young females to have sex. Kelly was found guilty last year in Chicago on six of 13 charges, including three for producing imagery of child sexual abuse and three for Child Enticement.
In Chicago, Kelly overcame poverty to become one of the greatest R&B stars in the world. Known for his number-one single I Believe I Can Fly and sexy tracks like Bump n’ Grind, he continued to sell millions of albums even after claims that he had abused young women started to surface in the 1990s.
Prosecutors called Kelly a “serial sexual predator” who attracted, assaulted, and then dumped star-struck admirers using his celebrity and wealth, according to presentencing filings. According to Kelly’s attorney Bonjean, Kelly would be fortunate to complete his 30-year New York term. However, giving him an additional 25-year period “is overkill; it is symbolic,” she said. “Why? Because R Kelly is involved.
According to her, Kelly’s silence shouldn’t be interpreted as a lack of regret, she added.