R. Kelly's royalty checks may be used to pay his sex trafficking victims
New York, New York - Prosecutors are looking to garnish R. Kelly’s royalty checks to pay restitution to the disgraced R&B star's sex trafficking victims.
In a pair of legal filings Thursday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn gave notice to Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Publishing that R. Kelly hasn’t paid the roughly $500,000 he owes the court and his victims.
"The Garnishee is believed to owe or will owe money or property to the Debtor, or is in possession of property of the Debtor," prosecutors wrote, referring to the music studios as the "garnishee" and R. Kelly as the "debtor."
Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison in June 2022 on sex trafficking and racketeering charges in Brooklyn Federal Court for a 25-year scheme that saw him sexually abuse and psychologically torture young women and men.
Last year, Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Ann Donnelly ruled that Kelly pay almost $380,000 in restitution to two of his victims. The funds are meant to help pay for a lifetime of mental health treatment and herpes medication, plus more than $140,000 in fines and penalties.
The government moved to seize nearly $28,000 from his commissary fund – money his lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, said came from donations made by his devoted fans.
Kelly owes millions to victims and music studio
Kelly’s lawyers have described him as "indigent," with his song royalties tied up by pending court judgments. Federal prosecutors have said he has a pool of $5 million still available to him.
In March, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that one of his victims who won a $4 million assault judgment, should get access to his Sony royalties before the money can be used to pay $3.5 million in back rent he owes on his former Chicago music studio.
That ruling revealed that in 2020, Sony held $1,544,333 in royalties due to the singer.
Kelly appealed his federal conviction last month, blaming the #MeToo movement for the verdict and arguing that jurors admitted seeing Surviving R. Kelly, the docuseries that brought rampant sexual abuse allegations to light.
He is also demanding Donnelly’s restitution order be vacated and that the $28,000 in commissary money be returned to his account.
Kelly received another two decades in prison in January, to be served concurrently, after his second conviction last year in Chicago on charges related to child pornography and enticement of minors for sex.
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