R. Kelly was given a 20-year jail term on Thursday for using child pornography and enticement of minors for sex, but he will serve all but one of those terms concurrently with a 30-year sentence for racketeering and sex trafficking crimes.
Following the racketeering sentence, which was delivered last year in New York, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ordered Kelly to serve one year in prison.
According to the AP, the main issue up for debate before Kelly’s sentencing in his birthplace of Chicago, was whether or not the 56-year-old Grammy Award winner would have to serve the sentence at the same time, or face the additional time at the end of completing the New York term. The latter was equivalent to receiving a life sentence.
A hefty sentence served just after the New York sentence could have eliminated Kelly’s chances of ever escaping jail alive, according to the prosecution. They claimed his crimes against children and lack of regret warranted such a punishment.
Yet Kelly won’t spend more than 31 years in prison after Thursday’s verdict. He will be eligible for parole around the age of 80, giving him a slim chance of leaving prison alive.
At the beginning of the hearing, Leinenweber stated that he disagreed with the government’s claim that Kelly used fear to entice underage girls to have sex.
“The (government’s) whole theory of grooming, was sort of the opposite of fear of bodily harm,” the judge told the court. “It was the fear of lost love, lost affections (from Kelly)’. … It just doesn’t seem to me that it rises to the fear of bodily harm.”
Kelly spoke just briefly at the start of the hearing, when the judge asked him if he had reviewed key pre sentencing documents for any inaccuracies.
Kelly replied to the judge, “Your honor, I have gone over it with my attorney. I’m just relying on my attorney for that.”
Earlier this month, Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s attorney, demanded a new trial, claiming the woman who testified under the pseudonym “Jane” lied under oath about seeking $13 million in restitution from the Grammy winner. Bonjean insisted Jane had hired an attorney to help her with restitution and provided an invoice. Bonjean’s motion said the invoice proved that Jane “absolutely knew of her intent” when she testified at the trial. Nonetheless, Judge Leinenweber denied the request for a new trial, CBS reports.
“Jane” was alleged to be only 14 and Kelly was in his 30s when the videos were recorded in the late 1990s. At the 2008 state trial, Jane declined to testify, therefore, the jury acquitted Kelly due to inconclusive evidence about the age of the female in the video. When asked why she didn’t testify at the 2008 trial, Jane said she was protecting Kelly and was ashamed.
Prosecutors said in presentencing files, that Kelly was a “serial sexual predator” who attracted, assaulted, and then dumped star-struck admirers using his fame and fortune.’
Kelly’s attorney, Bonjean, wrote in prehearing documents that prosecutors had provided an “embellished narrative” in an effort to persuade the court to support their “bloodthirsty campaign to make Kelly a symbol of the #MeToo movement.”
Kelly is also facing sexual misconduct charges in Minnesota. It’s unknown if prosecutors will take Kelly to trial.