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R. Kelly's Sentence for Sex-Trafficking Will Keep Him in Jail Into His 70s if Prosecutors Have Their Way

R. Kelly
R. Kelly won't see the outside of prison until well into his 70s if U.S. prosecutors get their way.

On Wednesday, in a 31-page document filed with the Eastern District of New York, prosecutors argued that the multiplatinum R&B singer deserves to spend more than 25 years in prison following his sex trafficking conviction.

They urged Judge Ann M. Donnelly to make the sentence for life, effectively, for the disgraced 55-year-old Grammy-winning artist who has been behind bars since 2019.

“The defendant’s decades of crime appear to have been fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct – no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating or abusive to others – to the strictures of the law,” prosecutors said in their filing.

“Put simply, the defendant’s crimes were calculated, methodical, and part a long-standing pattern of using his platform as a larger-than-life musical persona and his deep network to gain access to teenagers, many of whom were particularly vulnerable, and then to exploit them for his personal gain and sexual gratification.”

Prosecutors added that Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, remains a "serious danger" to the public, justifying keeping him behind bars until well into his 70s.

The legal brief comes ahead of his sentencing on June 29 for racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people across state lines for prostitution. Kelly was found guilty of the offenses in a month-long trial featuring 50 witnesses in September 2021, making him one of the highest-profile men to be convicted during the #MeToo movement —which renewed interest in his alleged crimes and empowered those seeking justice for them.

At the heart of the case against Kelly was his 1994 marriage to singer Aaliyah Haughton. The singer was 27 when he married the then 15-year-old Haughton. Prosecutors said Kelly fraudulently married her to conceal abuse from when she was 12 or 13. Haughton died in 2001.

Previously, Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer for Kelly, said he should spend fewer than 14 years in prison. Reuters reported that in a filing next Monday she will explain why his "history and characteristics" justify a shorter sentence.

Kelly faces a minimum 10-year term.

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