R. Kelly's bid to delay sentencing in New York conviction shot down
The decision this week by US District Judge Ann Donnelly to keep the June 16 sentencing date means Kelly could already be facing decades behind bars by the time he goes on trial at the Dirksen US Courthouse on August 1.
Kelly (54) is eligible for anywhere from 10 years to life in prison after being convicted September 27 in US District Court in Brooklyn on racketeering conspiracy charges alleging he used his music career to further a criminal enterprise.
In Chicago, he’s accused of conspiring with two associates to rig his 2008 child pornography case in Cook County and hide years of alleged sexual abuse of young girls.
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean – who was only recently hired and previously represented Bill Cosby – had argued that going forward with the sentencing, which will include intimate details of Kelly’s background, would interfere with his Fifth Amendment rights in the Chicago case.
Delay of sentencing "unwarranted"
In her five-page ruling Thursday, Donnelly said that granting the defense’s request would effectively mean that sentencing in the New York case wouldn’t take place until about a year after his conviction, which was an unwarranted delay.
She also ruled that anything Kelly chooses to raise about his background at sentencing would be voluntary, and therefore not a violation of his constitutional rights against self-incrimination.
Kelly, who has been in custody since his arrest in downtown Chicago in July 2019, is currently being held without bond at a federal detention facility in Brooklyn.
A jury found him guilty of 12 individual illegal acts, 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.
Bonjean has asked Donnelly to throw out the conviction on myriad legal grounds, including allegations prosecutors misused the RICO statute and that Kelly’s ineffective trial lawyers failed to keep jurors off the panel who had been tainted by what they’d seen or read about Kelly’s sexual exploits.
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire