Federal prosecutors have filed a request for a 25-year sentence to be added to R. Kelly‘s recent 30-year sentence for his child pornography and enticement convictions in Chicago.
The prosecutors have described Kelly’s behaviour as “sadistic” and have called him “a serial sexual predator” who poses a significant danger to society. The sentencing recommendation was filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, where Kelly is due to be sentenced next week.
The prosecutors have also requested that Kelly begins serving his Chicago sentence only after he completes his New York sentence.
Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, has called for a sentence of around 10 years to be served simultaneously with the New York sentence. Bonjean has alleged that Kelly, who is Black, was singled out for behaviour that white rock stars have gotten away with for decades.
In their argument for the lesser sentence, Bonjean claimed that Kelly was a damaged man in his late 20s when the conduct for which he was convicted occurred decades ago. She has also argued that traumas throughout Kelly’s life, including abuse as a child and illiteracy throughout adulthood, justified leniency in sentencing the singer.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, rose from poverty in Chicago to superstardom with hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Bump n’ Grind.” Despite going to trial in 2008, it wasn’t until after the airing of Lifetime’s 2019 docu-series, “Surviving R. Kelly” that criminal investigations were kicked into high gear, leading to federal and new state charges.
Prosecutors at Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago portrayed him as a master manipulator who used his fame and wealth to reel in star-struck fans to sexually abuse, in some cases to video record them, and then discard them.
It will be up to Judge Harry Leinenweber in Chicago to decide whether Kelly serves his sentence concurrently, simultaneously with the New York sentence, or consecutively. Kelly’s legal team is appealing his New York and Chicago convictions.