In September of 2021, singer R Kelly - real name Robert Sylvester Kelly - was found guilty on all nine charges of sex trafficking and racketeering in a court case that has gripped the nation.
Once a pop superstar, the singer's fall from grace has been littered by victims who he shamelessly used and abused - and will now face the music for mistreating. A New York judge has handed down sentencing to Kelly - and his victims were in court to watch the announcement.
Although Kelly's defense sought several delays to his May 4th sentencing, a Brooklyn judge denied their last attempt in April - setting the singer up to discover his fate today. However, even though we know the judge's ruling - it won't end here. The delays were an attempt to push the sentencing behind a second trial, which Kelly faces later this year.
Billboard writes, "The government fired back on Monday, saying it would 'strenuously oppose' that request and urging the judge to stick to the original sentencing date.
'His victims have waited years to see the defendant held to account and sentenced for his crimes,' prosecutors wrote Monday. 'Moreover … many victims have cleared their schedules to travel from other states to New York to attend and be heard at the May 4, 2022 sentencing hearing.'"
Now, those victims see the results of the years of waiting - and Kelly knows his fate.
R. Kelly Sentence Handed Down
The search for justice for Kelly's victims has been a long one, but it seems that it's finally being served.
Today, a New York judge handed down a sentence to the singer of 30 years in prison.
A second trial starts August 1st in Chicago in which Kelly will face charges for obtaining child pornography and obstructing justice.
Judge Ann M. Donnelly said of Kelly's sentence, "the public has to be protected from behaviors like this."
A Look Back
Now that we know the singer's fate (pending an appeal), here's a look back at what brought him to the court room.
CELEB reported when Kelly was found guilty on all counts back in September:
"Decades of rumors have followed the singer, but let’s go back to when the allegations stemming from this trial occurred. Per NBC News:
- Late 1993: Kelly becomes a national face, releasing his debut album '12 Play.'
- August 31, 1994: Kelly marries singer and hip hop star Aaliyah. Their marriage occurs in secret and was annulled only a few months later because she was only 15 at the time they were married. That should have been enough to end his career and bring out the magnifying glasses, but in the ’90s, it wasn’t.
- November 1996: Kelly’s hit single 'I Believe I Can Fly' hits number 2 on Billboard, and he marries 22 year old dancer Andrea Lee. They have three children together.
- December 1996: Tiffany Hawkins, a high school student, files a lawsuit against Kelly. The lawsuit alleges that Kelly and she began sleeping together in 1991; she was 15, he was 24. Hawkins seeks $10 million. The lawsuit is settled for $250K but it come out during the court case that Kelly has used his position to access and have sex with girls as young as 15.
- August 2001: Tracy Sampson files a lawsuit against Kelly. Kelly interned at Epic Records as a teenager, and alleges that her sexual contact with Kelly was illegal pursuant to Illinois law because he had a position of power and authority over her, which aligns with the court findings from Hawkins’ lawsuit.
- February 2002: A music critic reveals to The Chicago Tribune that he received a sex tape of Kelly and a minor girl. The police have been investigating his relationship with that same girl for three years by this point.
- June 2002: Kelly is arrested on charges of child pornography related to the sex tape. Kelly lodges a not guilty plea and is released on $750K bail.
- May 2008: Kelly’s trial on charges of child pornography begins, and in June he acquitted on all counts.
- January 2009: Lee and Kelly are officially divorced; Lee had previously filed for an order of protection after saying Kelly threatened to hit her when she asked for a divorce the previous year.
- 2017: The music critic who revealed the prior child pornography tape releases a behind the scenes expose detailing how Kelly used his power and influence to create a cult-like atmosphere that lured teenaged girls away from their parents.
- 2018: After digging into Harvey Weinstein and the advent of the #MeToo movement, the public demands a closer look at Kelly.
- May 2018: Faith Rodgers, 20, files a lawsuit against Kelly claiming sexual battery, mental and verbal abuse, and knowingly giving her herpes.
- January 2019: A documentary titled Surviving R Kelly is released, and it puts into alignment the allegations against the singer, with interviews from alleged victims.
- February 2019: Due to the revelations in the film, Kelly is arrested on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse.
- May 2019: 11 new sex-related charges are added against Kelly in Illinois.
- July 2019: A federal grand jury in Chicago indicts Kelly for 13 counts including child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice. On the same day, federal prosecutors from New York charge Kelly with one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act. The Mann Act prevents transporting people across state lines for prostitution.
- August 2019: Kelly is charged in Minnesota for prostitution and solicitation.
- August 2021: Kelly’s trial for sex trafficking begins.
- September 27, 2021: R Kelly found guilty in New York of one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act."