The 2021 lawsuit was one of the most high-profile cases in the music industry to stem from the #MeToo movement. It is also one of the most prominent cases in which the victims were predominantly black women.
Here’s what to know about Kelly’s sentencing hearing:
What are the charges against R. Kelly in New York?
A jury in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn found Kelly, 55, guilty of one count of racketeering and eight violations of Mann’s Law, a law created to combat sex trafficking across state lines.
Kelly’s racketeering conviction included 14 underlying acts. For example, witnesses said that the 90s hitmaker fraudulently married R&B singer Aaliyah, who was 15 and thought she was pregnant at the time, by bribing a government official to give her a fake ID that claimed she was an adult . Kelly did it for legal protection while sexually abusing Aaliyah, starting when she was 12 or 13, prosecutors say. She died in a plane crash at age 22.
He was also convicted of crossing state lines for unlawful sexual activity, coercion and incitement, and transportation of a minor.
Witnesses said Kelly and his team used the artist’s fame to lure and organize trips for his victims, many of whom were minors hoping for their big break in the music industry, only for them to be abused. sexually by Kelly.
Other witnesses, including Kelly’s former girlfriends and former employees, described a system of abuse that kept Kelly’s victims living with him, unable to leave rooms without his permission, and raped by Kelly or other women.
Kelley has denied all the allegations. His attorney did not return a request for comment.
How much jail time could R. Kelly receive?
Kelley faces between 10 years, which is the mandatory minimum sentence, and life in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking. In a sentencing memo, federal prosecutors requested that Kelly be sentenced to at least 25 years due to “the seriousness of the offenses, the need for specific deterrence and the need to protect the public from further crimes”.
Will his sentencing affect Kelly’s ability to continue enjoying his music?
Efforts to stop Kelly profiting from his music have been led by the #MuteRKelly campaign, which was founded in 2017 by arts administrator Oronike Odeleye and social justice activist Kenyette Barnes.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer has millions of dollars stashed away in a royalty account with Sony, his former label which let him go in 2019. However, the money was pledged to a line of collectors, according to a Illinois Court of Appeals. document.
More than $1 million in royalties was seized in 2020 by its former owner, Midwest Commercial Funding, after it stopped paying rent for its Chicago studio. One of Kelly’s accusers in a previous court case won a $4 million settlement and will continue to receive a portion of her Sony royalties until she is fully paid. Kelly also owes the IRS money and is behind on child support payments.
The singer’s music is available on major streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. Although Spotify removed his songs from its curated playlists, his music still attracts nearly 5 million monthly listeners.
Could he still face charges in other cases?
Kelly faces various charges in Chicago and Minnesota. In August, he is due to stand trial in Illinois on federal charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice. In that case, Kelly switched defense attorneys and hired Jennifer Bonjean, who helped free Bill Cosby last year after serving three years in prison for sexual assault. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2020.