Grammy-winning R&B artiste R. Kelly was sentenced today to one additional year in prison on federal child pornography and other charges to be served on top of the 30 years he received on an earlier conviction in New York, local media reported.
At a 90-minute hearing, Judge Harry Leinenweber of the US District Court for Northern Illinois in Chicago also ordered Kelly to serve 19 years simultaneously with the previous sentence, a local CBS affiliate and other media reported.
In September, Kelly was convicted in federal court of felony sexual exploitation of a child, enticement of a female, and possession of material containing child pornography.
‘KEEP HIM IN PRISON FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE’
In the earlier case in New York, Kelly was convicted of multiple felonies including illegal sex with minors and sexual exploitation of minors.
In Illinois, prosecutors argued that the singer was so incorrigible that “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.” They want to add another 25 years to his existing 30-year sentence.
Defense attorneys said Kelly, who is 56 and suffers from diabetes, was already facing an effective life sentence with the 30-year term. They acknowledged that the judge must impose a sentence of 10 years, but contended that it should run concurrently.
They also questioned why federal prosecutors have dedicated significant resources to prosecuting a Black artist when, they argued, many of the biggest white stars in rock ‘n’ roll history had been accused of abusing underage girls and “none have been prosecuted and none will die in prison”.
Defense lawyer Jennifer Bonjean alleged a double standard, naming 11 white rock stars in her sentencing memo who have been accused of abusing underage girls and gone unpunished.
Kelly did not address the judge because he still faced prosecution in other jurisdictions and any statement could be used against him, Bonjean said.