After more than 25 years of accusations and a federal court trial in New York that lasted seven weeks, R&B singer R. Kelly has been found guilty of charges including sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, racketeering and sex trafficking involving five victims. Kelly faces a possible sentence of 10 years to life in prison.Kelly sat absolutely still as the foreperson gave the jury’s verdict to Judge Ann Donnelly.
Fourteen alleged underlying acts were associated with the racketeering charge. The jury found that the government had proved 12 of those acts, which involved five victims: the singer Aaliyah as well as women named Stephanie, Jerhonda Pace, Jane and Faith. Two acts associated with an alleged victim named Sonja were not proved. (Most alleged victims went by their first names or pseudonyms.) The government needed proof of only two of the racketeering acts for a guilty charge.
Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York successfully proved to a jury of seven men and five women that Kelly had been the head of a criminal enterprise whose purpose was to lure girls, boys and women to the R&B singer for his sexual gratification.
On top of awaiting sentencing in this New York case, Kelly will face a second federal trial on charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice in Illinois. Some of those accusations are related to a 2008 child pornography trial in Chicago in which he was acquitted of all charges.Additionally, Kelly faces outstanding criminal charges in both Cook County, Ill., where he was indicted by the state attorney in February 2019 for aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims (three of them minors), and in Minnesota, where Kelly was charged in August 2019 with engaging in prostitution with a minor.
Sentencing in New York is scheduled for May 4.