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US prosecutors ask judge to give R. Kelly 25 more years in prison for sex crimes

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Prosecutors have reportedly asked a judge to give singer R. Kelly 25 more years in prison for his convictions made last year in a Chicago trial.

The 2022 trial convicted Kelly for three child pornography charges and three charges of enticing a minor.

If granted, the 56-year-old would not be eligible for release until he is about 100, having only recently begun serving a 30-year sentence from a separate verdict made in New York in 2021.

The government request has asked that Kelly begin serving the sentence made in Chicago after fully serving a 30-year New York sentence.

In their sentencing recommendation filed on Thursday February 16, in US District Court in Chicago, prosecutors described Kelly’s behavior as ‘sadistic’, calling him ‘a serial sexual predator’ with no remorse and who ‘poses a serious danger to society.’

‘The only way to ensure Kelly does not re-offend is to impose a sentence that will keep him in prison for the rest of his life,’ the 37-page government filing says.

The sentencing in Chicago is set for Thursday next week.

Kelly lawyer’s Jennifer Bonjean wrote in a filing last week that even with his existing 30-year New York sentence, ‘Kelly would have to defy all statistical odds to make it out of prison alive.’

She cited data that the average life expectancy of inmates is 64. She recommended a sentence of about 10 years, at the low end of the sentencing guidelines range, and said it should be served simultaneously with the New York sentence.

In arguing for the lesser sentence, Ms Bonjean alleged Kelly, who is black, was singled out for behavior that white rock stars have got away with for decades.

‘None have been prosecuted and none will die in prison,’ she wrote.

The singer spent six weeks on trials and was convicted in September 2021 of all nine counts of a superseding indictment that charged him with racketeering predicated on criminal conduct including the sexual exploitation, forced labor, and Mann Act violations.

The Mann Act criminalizes the use of interstate or foreign commerce to transport women for ‘immoral purposes’.

Bonjean said she would appeal the 30-year prison sentence reached in New York.

In the Chicago case, prosecutors acknowledged that a 25-year sentence would be more time than even sentencing guidelines recommend, but they argued that imposing a long sentence and instructing it be served only after the New York sentence was appropriate.

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‘A consecutive sentence is eminently reasonable given the egregiousness of Kelly’s conduct,’ the filing argued. ‘Kelly’s sexual abuse of minors was intentional and prolific.’

At the trial in Chicago last year, jurors convicted the Grammy Award-winning singer on six of 13 counts, but the government lost the marquee count that Kelly and his then-business manager successfully rigged his state child pornography trial in 2008.

Both of Kelly’s co-defendants, including longtime business manager Derrel McDavid, were acquitted of all charges.

At the Chicago trial, four women testified to say that R. Kelly had sexually abused them while they were underage, including the woman who identified herself as the victim of sexual abuse in a videotape at the center of the singer’s 2008 trial.

In 2008, R. Kelly was accused of filming himself having sex with a 14-year-old girl but was ultimately acquitted by the jury, who cited the girl’s lack of testimony.

The girl, under the pseudonym ‘Jane’, then became the key witness in the prosecutors’ case in Chicago, testifying that Kelly sexually abused her hundreds of times from 1998, when she was 14.

Prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Pozolo said Kelly ‘took advantage of Jane’s youth. He repeatedly abused her. He performed degrading acts upon her for his own sick pleasure,’ she said.

The defense raised doubts about some accusers, saying at least one may have been at the state age of consent at the time. Kelly did not take the stand.

The singer was ultimately found guilty of three counts of child pornography and three counts of child enticement after a four-week trial.
His legal team is also appealing the convictions made in Chicago.

Despite the trial in 2008, criminal investigations gained traction after the release of 2019 docuseries ‘Surviving R. Kelly’, which featured testimonials by his accusers.

The investigations led to federal and new state charges.

In January, an Illinois judge dismissed state sex abuse charges prior to a trial on the recommendation of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who said she was comfortable dropping the case because Kelly would spend decades in prison for his federal convictions.

With the New York convictions alone, he would not have been eligible for release until he was about 80.

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