A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced singer and convicted sexual predator R. Kelly to 30 years in prison.
Kelly was convicted in September 2021 of racketeering and violating the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law, including having sex with underage girls. He could have faced up to life in prison.
Kelly declined to make a statement during the hearing on Wednesday.
His defense team asked for less than 14 years in prison, citing Kelly’s traumatic childhood.
During his trial, nearly four dozen witnesses testified for the prosecution, alleging that he preyed upon children and women for his sexual gratification.
He was also convicted in a bribery scheme involving a public official to get a fake ID for the late singer Aaliyah, so the two could marry when she was 15 and he was 27. Kelly believed Aaliyah was pregnant at the time, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
Kelly produced Aaliyah’s debut album, titled “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.” She died in a plane crash in 2001 at 22 years old.
“Kelly relied upon his fame, money and popularity as an R&B recording star and used the large network of people his status afforded him–including his business managers, security guards and bouncers, runners, lawyers, accountants and assistants to both carry out and conceal his crimes,” prosecutors said. “He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account.”
In 2016, he revealed in a GQ interview that a female family member sexually abused him.
The defense also cast his accusers as motivated by money.