R. Kelly should get 25 years behind bars, prosecutors say

R. Kelly will learn later this month how many years he will be spending in prison after being convicted of racketeering and underlying sex crimes.

Prosecutors said in a court filing on Wednesday that he should serve at least 25 years in prison, The Associated Press reported.

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A jury in New York City found Kelly guilty in his sex-trafficking trial. Prosecutors said that the singer’s group of managers and aides who connected Kelly with women and girls and kept them obedient to Kelly, was equal to a criminal enterprise.

Kelly was found guilty of all nine charges filed against him, including one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts including sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and sex trafficking, as well as eight counts of violating the Mann Act that prohibits sex trafficking across state lines, CNN reported.

For the racketeering charge, the jury needed to find him guilty of at least two of the 14 allegations. The jury found him guilty of 12 of the 14.

Several women testified in court about what Kelly did to them when they were underage.

Jurors heard allegations about a fraudulent marriage between the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer and R&B performer Aaliyah in 1994. She was 15 at the time and he thought she was pregnant with his child. Witnesses told the court that the couple was married using a license that indicated she was three years older than she actually was — 18. Kelly was 27.

Kelly had produced Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album which included the song “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number,” the AP reported. She died in a plane crash in 2001 when she was 22.

Prosecutors wrote in the filing that Kelly used his “fame, money and popularity” to “prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification.”

“He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account,” prosecutors told the court, according to the AP.

Kelly’s attorneys said he should be sentenced to a maximum of 17 years in prison according to federal sentencing guidelines.

In addition to the 25-year prison sentence, prosecutors are recommending that Kelly be fined between $50,000 to $250,000, CNN reported.

Prosecutors hope that the lengthy sentence sends a message to others to deter them from similar crimes.

“While the government doubts that the defendant will be deterred, a lengthy sentence of imprisonment will serve to deter others — including those with wealth, fame and the outsized power such status brings — from engaging in similar crimes,” the filing said, according to CNN.

“This is particularly so given the high-profile nature of the defendant and the likelihood that the length of his sentence will be widely publicized,” the prosecution said.

Kelly is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29, the AP reported.

Previous coverage:

Jailed singer R. Kelly has COVID-19, delaying post-trial motions

3 alleged R. Kelly accomplices in sex abuse case charged with threatening, intimidating accusers

R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering, sex trafficking charges

Attorneys: R. Kelly attacked by inmate in jail cell