Last September a jury convicted Robert Sylvester Kelly, aka R. Kelly, of one charge of racketeering and eight counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law. He had been accused of using his celebrity status to lure black and brown women, and men, for his sexual gratification. For a long time, no one believed his victims. The first accusation came to light in 2002.
Kelly has always denied all accusations, although his attorneys told the court about Kelly’s own abuse as a child, seeming to offer a rationale and to get sympathy from the court at sentencing. His attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, asked for ten years or less. And, while she advised her client not to say anything at the sentencing hearing due to still pending charges, she said that Kelly “rejects that he is this monster,” adding that “[h]e accepts that he is a flawed individual, but he is not this one-dimensional monster that the government has portrayed and the media has portrayed.”
Federal prosecutors asked the judge to sentence the Grammy Award-winning R&B singer to at least 25 years, plus pay a fine between $50,000 and $250,000. Kelly’s attorney said he can’t pay a fine because he is “pretty close to indigent[.]” The prosecution cited “decades of crime” and a “callous disregard for the very real effects that his crimes had on his victims,” in their sentencing memorandum. They said he had shown no remorse and seemed to believe 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.”
Following his trial, Kelly, who has changed attorneys many times, hired the attorneys who helped get Bill Cosby’s conviction overturned. Maybe that will help him when he appeals. Kelly faces another federal charge, in Chicago in August, on charges of child pornography and obstruction.
One person offered this advice, tweeting: “Sin will: 1. take you farther than you wanted to go, 2. Keep you longer than you wanted to stay, 3. Cost you more than you wanted to pay. – Steve Farrer”
It seems that R. Kelly still hasn’t accepted any responsibility. He has continued to change attorneys, evidencing that their failure to keep him out of prison is due to their incompetence, not anything he has done. Do you think his new attorney, who got Cosby’s conviction overturned, can do the same for R. Kelly?