Published 2021-09-28
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R. Kelly - R&B Singer Found Guilty! Faces Life Sentence Not Only In New York?!

The case of R.Kelly has been closely followed by many. The accusations that had come out against the R&B singer had shocked many, especially since despite several of his past controversies, his music has been very popular and throughout his career earned nicknames such as "the King of R&B" and "the King of Pop-Soul”. But that all changed in 2019 when the artist was charged with counts of aggravated criminal intimate abuse and later arrested on federal charges alleging intimate crimes and obstruction of justice. The federal trial began as scheduled on August 18 and after weeks of hearing testimonies from witnesses the jury had made their decision and found him guilty. What exactly happened that caused the artist to be arrested? What was revealed during the trial? What do we know about the sentence that Kelly can face? And what other problems is he facing? Read on until the end to find out all the latest news.

R. Kelly - Not The First Problems

Where the career of R. Kelly is concerned it was as successful as it was controversial. One of the first most controversial allegations that had come out about the R&B singer was the fact that in 1994 when he was 27-years-old he allegedly married his 15-year-old protegee Aaliyah in an illegal and secret ceremony. While over the years the pair had denayed this allegation, in 2021, through his lawyers Kelly admitted to having had ‘underage sexual contact' with the late singer. In 2002 the artist was also investigated for alleged possession of pornographic materials that featured minors, however, he was not found guilty. In the past, he was also accused of sexualy abusing teenage girls as well as having been accused by parents of three girls of holding their daughters in “an abusive cult”.

Surviving R. Kelly

However, the serious problems for the R&B artist had begun in 2019 with the release of the Lifetime documentary titled “Surviving R. Kelly”. The six-part documentary series detailing sexual abuse and misconduct allegations against the singer and had prompted many to take action. Artists such as Lady Gaga, Chance the Rapper, and Celine Dion took down their music which they had collaborated on with the singer, and after it had aired the Cook County, Illinois state attorney Kim Foxx had said that they received numerous news calls alleging sexual abuse by Kelly and added that they were investigating them.

R. Kelly - Not The First Problems

R. Kelly - Documentary Impact

The impact continued and on February 22nd, 2019, the Cook Country State Attorney’s Office in Illinois had charged the R&B artist with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. According to news reports at the time, these acts had occurred between May 1998 and January 2010 and revealed that the singer sexually abused four women, three of whom were minors at the time. On the day the charges were announced Kelly turned himself in and was arrested by the Chicago Police and was taken into custody. Later the judge set a $1 million bond and ordered him to have no contact with any minor under 18 or an alleged victim. That same year in August, Kelly was also charged with soliciting a minor and prostitution in Minnesota. If you thought these early allegations against the singer were bad then make sure to read to the end to find out what was revealed during the trial.

R. Kelly - Homeland Security Arrest

Despite being released on bond in Chicago, several months later in July that same year, the singer was once again arrested but this time by the U.S. Homeland Security investigators and NYPD detectives on federal charges that at the time alleged sexual crimes and obstruction of justice. The next day he was indicted on 18 charges which including child intimate exploitation, producing pornographic content featuring children, kidnapping, forced labor, racketeering, and obstruction of justice. After these charges, he was denied bail in October 2019 and later in April 2020. Additional indictments were later filed which raised the total number of charges to 22. In June 2021, Kelly was transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where he was to await trial which was scheduled for August 18th, giving the singer more time to review materials with his new legal team. A month later federal prosecutors had asked the court to include alleged evidence of bribes, recordings of threats, and more allegations of sexual abuse of minors, including an underage boy he met at McDonald’s.

R. Kelly - The Trial Begins

And so this all brings us to Kelly’s trial that was closely watched by many. Over the six weeks, eleven accusers, nine of which were women, and two men had taken to the stand to describe the intimate humiliation and violence that they had experienced at the singer’s hands. From the beginning of the month-long trial, prosecutors had painted Kelly as a “predator” who had used his fame and cadre of employees to prey on young victims. In her opening statement during the trial, last month assistant US attorney Maria Cruz Melendez had said: “This is not about a celebrity who likes to party a lot. This case is about a predator.”

R. Kelly - Friend & Employee Network

In order to prove the racketeering charge against the singer, prosecutors had shown the jury how Kelly used a network of friends and employees in his “inner circle” to transport his victims across state lines, control their actions and facilitate the sexual abuse. They had also called many witnesses who testified about the abuse the disgraced singer subjected them to. One of the first to take the stand was accuser Jerhonda Pace, who said that the 54-year-old singer had repeatedly had sexual relations with her over the course of several months when she was under 18.

R. Kelly - The Victims Speak Up

Many of the women and men who testified, some who cannot be publically identified, had described having these sexual relations with the artist when they were underaged and had described him as controlling, angry and violent, adding that he required them to call him “daddy”. While taking the stand others had revealed that they were forced to write letters of blackmail, including false confessions that could later be used against them. Some of the women confessing had also revealed that they had been infected with herpes by the artist despite the fact that, as they claimed, he knew that he had the infection. One woman identified as Kate added that she was given a $200,000 settlement from Kelly. Some who testified also revealed that the singer had filmed them while they were having sex.

R. Kelly & Aaliyah

Besides the victims who testified in court, another victim who was brought up was the aforementioned, late singer Aaliyah. As it was revealed for their illegal marriage to have moved forward the prosecutors revealed how the artist relied on his entourage. A former tour manager testified that he had bribed a Chicago-area welfare office employee to make a fake ID for Aaliyah that had listed her as 18. Prosecutors had alleged that the R&B singer married her to dodge criminal charges of having sexual relations with a minor and to block her from testifying against him about the abuse. Though as we mentioned previously, the singer through his lawyers, admitted to having intercourse with her.

R. Kelly - Never Took The Stand

During the trial, the prosecution had called for more witnesses than the defense with Kelly’s team only calling 5 witnesses over a couple of days, most of them employees and other people whose careers were closely tethered to the former star. The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer never took the stand himself. However, during the trial, his attorneys had sought to cast the aforementioned Jerhonda Pace and the other accusers, as hysterical fans who were obsessed with Kelly and had made up stories about him because he refused their advances.

R. Kelly - The Verdict

After the trial that took just over a month and had focused on all the accusations that had spanned over two decades, the jury that was compromised of seven men and five women deliberated for about nine hours across two days before reaching their unanimous verdict. They had found Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, guilty on all the charges he was facing, which included being the ringleader of a violent and coercive scheme that lured women and children for him to sexually abuse.

R. Kelly - Sentencing

It had been speculated that for these charges the singer could be facing from 10 years up to life imprisonment though that is just speculation as the official sentencing is scheduled for May 4th, 2022. However, these aren’t the only criminal charges that the singer has to deal with as, according to several media reports he still has a second federal trial in Chicago as well as state trials in Illinois and Minnesota, which we have talked about earlier.

R. Kelly - Serious Financial Troubles

He is also allegedly facing financial difficulties as well. According to the website Kelly’s estimated net worth is at minus $2 million! The site states that at his peak the singer’s fortune could have easily been in the tens of millions and possibly even as high as $100 million but as the singer told a judge in April 2020, he owes nearly $1.9 million to the IRS alone. In light of his financial problems in 2018, he released a 19-minute song where he addressed the issues. On the track, he claimed to be broke and needing to tour “just to pay rent”, at one point owning the IRS $20 million and being forced to borrow several million from his label just to pay the bills.

R. Kelly - Victims Speak Out

While the singer still faces many problems, his victims can now get a sense of closure. Gloria Allred, an attorney who represented one of the victims had read a statement from a woman who wanted to be identified as Sonja in which she wrote: “I’m happy with the verdict, and thankful that the jury listened to us. I’ve been hiding from Robert Kelly in fear, due to threats made against me, and I’m ready to start loving my life free from fear, and to start the healing process.” Allred herself had made a comment on the case saying the in her 47 years of practicing law and persuing many predators who have committed crimes against women and children, Kelly was the worst of them.

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