R. Kelly sentenced to thirty years in federal prison for trafficking, racketeering

Last September, R. Kelly was found guilty of nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering. The change in the public’s perception of R. Kelly began in early 2019, with Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docu-series. It was the first comprehensive series with interviews from his victims and detailed, painful accounts of his pedophilia and abuse of young girls. After the Lifetime series aired, the authorities really began to move. At first, it was local jurisdictions, then the FBI got involved. When R. Kelly was found guilty last year, it was in federal court. And it’s taken this long to get him sentenced. On Wednesday, the judge sentenced Kelly to 30 years in prison. Good.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kelly, 55, could no longer escape the fallout: He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking. As the judge read out his term, he did not react, and outside, his victims expressed deep relief at the decision.

The sentencing that followed a September conviction culminated Mr. Kelly’s staggering downfall, from a chart-topping hitmaker known as the king of R&B to a pariah whose musical legacy has become inextricable from his abuses. His trial exposed harrowing and systematic torment directed by the musician and enabled by those in his orbit.

U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, who presided over the federal trial in Brooklyn, said in court that “few crimes more serious” than Mr. Kelly’s exist, and that he had manipulated girls and women. “You taught them that love is enslavement and violence,” the judge said, recalling the scenarios he created to wreak primal humiliation on them.

“This case is not about sex. It’s about violence and cruelty and control,” Judge Donnelly said. “You had a system in place that lured young people into your orbit — and then you took over their lives.”

Mr. Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, said outside the courthouse that she would appeal the sentence. She had sought 10 years. Mr. Kelly was prepared for prison, she said, but “has regrets and is sad.”

[From The New York Times]

His victims’ stories were harrowing, and during the sentencing, his victims got to make statements. All of the women are haunted by what he did to them, all of them are still dealing with the trauma he inflicted upon them. Kelly is 55 now, and again, this is federal court. He’s going to federal prison, most likely. While his lawyers will appeal, he’s unlikely to get out of prison early on “good behavior.” He will hopefully die in prison.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Instar.

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30 Responses to “R. Kelly sentenced to thirty years in federal prison for trafficking, racketeering”

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  1. Seaflower says:

    Between R Kelly and Ghislaine Maxwell, its been a good 2 days for justice.

    • Megan says:

      Yes, but Maxwell should have gotten 30 years.

      • Nlopez says:

        I agree Megan. They both deserved more years than they got.

      • Jessamine says:

        Less time than they deserve but grateful for the convictions. A just verdict for predators is no certain thing in this day and age.

    • Bettyrose says:

      I guess. It’s good to see sexual predators get convicted but powerful white men continue to escape justice. Weinstein got made an example at the height of “me too.” But Maxwell’s contact list is sleeping soundly.

      • Marie Janson says:

        This is of course racism. I have no doubt that R Kelly is a terrible human, but also no doubt that white men get far shorter sentence in prison for same offenses, if they get sentenced at all.

    • Sean says:

      About Ghislaine Maxwell, even though she only got 20 years she is 60. She won’t get out until 80. That very well could be a life sentence for her.

      Even if she does live long enough to see the outside of a prison, what will she be getting out to? Her life of luxury has been stripped away.

    • Tiffany:) says:

      I’m so very glad they were found guilty and given multi-decade sentences.

      I’m am still so very sad that they were allowed to abuse people for decades before they were stopped. They both have so many, many victims.

  2. butterflystella says:


  3. Lucy says:

    Have the prison stay you deserve, Robert.

  4. Dorcas says:

    This man should have been locked up long ago, i pray he never see sunlight again i am glad his victim got justice. I always have the feeling he had a hand in the death of aliyah

    • Bettyrose says:

      Didn’t she die in a plane crash? Off to Google.

      • M says:

        Yes she died in a plane crash because the plane was overloaded and the pilot was not certified to fly said plane (and he was on drugs). He’s a total POS, but R Kelly is in no way responsible for that.

  5. BlueSky says:

    His whole crew needs to go to jail. He didn’t do all this alone.

  6. Lala11_7 says:

    Having lived in the area where he was doing these HORRORS for YEARS and…unfortunately…knowing women he has……………………….encountered 😡….I say….GOOD & FINALLY…to ALL OF THIS!!!

  7. Dorcas says:

    He got married to aliyah when she was either sixteen or seventeen

  8. sunny says:

    Thrilled to see this! His survivors deserve justice and his crimes were horrific. This is a hard fought win because justice in these cases continues to elude so many survivors, particularly women of colour.

    Now do T.I. please!

  9. Nicegirl says:


  10. tealily says:


  11. Ally says:

    It makes me sick to my stomach that ANYONE, especially a WOMAN, would take his case. It is truly sickening. I work in law & understand that everyone should get a fair day in court but he makes it reallllllllly hard to remember that.

  12. DrFt says:

    That sends such an important message to Black women.

  13. SomeChick says:

    oh so he “has regrets and is sad” huh?

    I’m sure he regrets having documented what he did and is sad that he lost in court! get under that jail, dude.

  14. Jaded says:

    Prison justice is coming for you Robert.

  15. SIde Eye says:

    About damn time! He should have been locked up a long time ago instead remained at large to harm more victims for decades. I want him to have a looooong life in prison and then die there a day before his release. He’s not even worthy of the card box box exit, just dump that body in raw sewage and call it a day.

  16. wtf says:

    I thought I would be so happy. I have been on the STOP R KELLY train for a long time (which was really hard going to an HBCU). But I don’t feel happy. I just feel sad.I feel sad that so many people looked the other way while Kelly was abusing black women. I feel sad that so many people caped for him when they should’ve been forcing him into treatment. I feel sad that Kelly was abused and turned into an abuser. But I also feel sad that a whole life is being lost behind bars. Clearly he can’t be free. But something about a relatively young man going into the prison industrial complex also makes me sad. I can’t explain it.

    • Jen says:

      Wtf – WTF?? He’s 55 and lived a life of unimaginable luxury up for the last 30 years til now. Screw him, what possible value to society is being locked away? None and if it means he can’t abuse any other girls, prison is exactly where he should be. I really don’t get what you’re feeling but I guess you don’t either…what could have been maybe?

  17. Grace says:

    Jim Derogatis, a long-time music writer and critic broke the first R Kelly story in 2000. He published story after story. It took such a long time to get any traction. https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/6/5/18652167/r-kelly-jim-derogatis-interview-soulless . One of those quotes from his interview… “And mind you, we felt guilty the whole time that we were late to the story. This had been going on since 1991, according to the court documents we uncovered. [The marriage to] Aaliyah is 1994. Here we are in 2000. “Jesus, how come this was never reported? We’re late on this story!” This monster is in our midst, in full view of the world, opening the winter Olympics and selling 100 million records.”