R. Kelly deserves more than 25 years behind bars, federal prosecutors say

New York, New York - Federal prosecutors in New York on Wednesday asked for a sentence "in excess of 25 years" in prison for convicted singer R. Kelly. They said his racketeering conviction was part of a "long and pervasive history of enticing children to engage in sexual activity."

R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019, in Chicago.
R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019, in Chicago.  © ANTONIO PEREZ / POOL / AFP

In addition to the main count of racketeering, the jury found Kelly guilty on all eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits travel over state lines for illegal sex.

In the 31-page memo asking US District Judge Ann Donnelly to sentence Kelly to more than 25 years in prison, prosecutors said that R. Kelly's recording career allowed him to take "advantage of his access to adoring fans and musical hopefuls who jumped at the chance to meet him."

Prosecutors wrote, "He lured young girls and boys into his orbit, often through empty or conditioned promises of assistance in developing a career in the entertainment industry or simply by playing into the minors' understandable desire to meet and spend time with a popular celebrity."

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As the leader of his enterprise, Kelly felt emboldened to commit his criminal acts "in plain sight" and employ others to help recruit women and girls to satisfy his sexual whims, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say the crimes were part of R. Kelly's regular business

R. Kelly was found guilty of sex trafficking in September 2021.
R. Kelly was found guilty of sex trafficking in September 2021.  © POOL / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Kelly's crimes also were not "aberrational" but rather his regular way of operating, "which he had no intention of ceasing," prosecutors wrote. It continued even after he was indicted on child pornography charges in Cook County, a case that ended with his acquittal in 2008.

"If anything, the acquittal after his state trial appears to have emboldened the defendant with a belief that he was untouchable and, over the next decade, the crimes continued unabated," the prosecution's memo stated.

Kelly is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29 in a US District Court in Brooklyn.

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In all, the seven-man, five-woman jury found Kelly guilty of 12 individual criminal acts involving the racketeering scheme, including sex with multiple underage girls as well as a 1994 scheme to bribe an Illinois public aid official to get a phony ID for 15-year-old singer Aaliyah so the two could get married illegally.

Kelly's attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, is expected to file her own sentencing recommendation next week.

Cover photo: POOL / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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