West News Wire: R. Kelly was given a 30 year prison sentence for using his musical fame to systematically abuse young fans.

The judge was asked by the prosecution to sentence 55-year-old Kelly to more than 25 years in prison, but Kelly’s defense attorneys asked for 10 years or less, claiming that the prosecution’s request was “tantamount to a life sentence.”

In September of last year, a jury found Kelly guilty on nine counts, including one for racketeering and eight for contravening the Mann Act, which prohibits sex trafficking. Kelly was charged with using his celebrity status and “network of people at his disposal to target girls, boys, and young women for his own sexual gratification,” according to prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York.

The five-week federal trial in Brooklyn included testimony from witnesses who said they were sexually and physically abused by Kelly. The court also heard from people involved with orchestrating the disgraced R&B singer’s 1994 marriage to the late singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old and he was an adult after she believed she’d gotten pregnant.

“No one can undo the harm that has been done to these victims,” attorney Gloria Allred, who represented three victims who testified, told reporters Wednesday outside court. “But at least it’s time for Mr. Kelly to be accountable.”

Defense attorneys and prosecutors argued Wednesday in court over whether Kelly even could pay a fine. The defense said he is “pretty close to indigent” and could not. Prosecutors disagreed, saying money from the sale of some of his music rights and millions of dollars in royalties held by Sony could cover any fine.

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In the nine months since his conviction, Kelly has replaced his entire legal team with Jennifer Bonjean and her firm. Bonjean is the attorney who helped Bill Cosby get his sexual assault conviction overturned and also represented Cosby in a civil case he lost this month at trial.

Kelly is being held at a federal detention facility in Brooklyn and, once sentenced, was expected to be moved back to Chicago, where he faces another federal trial in August on child pornography and obstruction charges.

Ahead of the sentencing, a Chicago man who had attended Kelly’s trial in Brooklyn was arrested and charged for making threats against the three US attorneys who prosecuted Kelly, a copy of his arrest warrant shows.


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