Federal prosecutors in New York on Wednesday, June 8, recommended that the R&B singer R. Kelly be sentenced to more than 25 years in prison after being convicted of sex trafficking.
In a filing in Brooklyn federal court, prosecutors said Kelly exploited his stardom and wealth over a quarter-century to lure women and underage girls for sex, demonstrating a “callous disregard” for his victims and showing no remorse.
“Indeed, the defendant’s decades of crime appear to have been fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct – no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating or abusive to others – to the strictures of the law,” prosecutors said.
In the filing, prosecutors argued Kelly showed no remorse for what he did, and that his actions were fueled by a belief that his “musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct — no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating or abusive to others — to the strictures of the law.”
They also recommended Kelly should be fined between $50,000 to $250,000, according to the document. Kelly, 55, who has been jailed since 2019, remains a “serious danger” to the public, justifying keeping him behind bars until well into his 70s, prosecutors added.
The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was convicted in September of racketeering, including acts of bribery and sexual exploitation of a child, and of separate charges of sex trafficking.
In his federal case, Kelly was found guilty of all nine counts he faced — one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and sex trafficking charges — and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits sex trafficking across state lines.
Of the 14 underlying acts for the racketeering count, he needed to be found guilty of at least two to be convicted of that count. Jurors found prosecutors had proven all but two of the 14 underlying racketeering acts.
Kelly is expected to be sentenced on June 29 in the Eastern District of New York. Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer for Kelly, has said he should spend fewer than 14 years in prison, and will in a filing next Monday explain why his “history and characteristics” justify a shorter sentence.