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R. Kelly Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

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Disgraced Following his conviction last year on federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges coming from his attempts over a period of years to exploit his popularity to trap victims he sexually assaulted, R&B artist R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday.

The court was urged by the prosecution to sentence 55-year-old Kelly to more than 25 years in prison, while Kelly’s defense counsel argued for 10 years or less, claiming that the prosecution’s proposal was “tantamount to a life sentence.”

Judge Ann Donnelly of the US District Court proceeded to read his punishment. At the hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, Kelly, who was dressed in a tan prison uniform, dark-rimmed glasses, and a black mask, exhibited no emotion.

“You left in your wake a trail of broken lives,” Donnelly told Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly.

Kelly’s counsel said that during his horrific youth, which Donnelly claimed she took into account while determining the sentence, he was subjected to recurrent sexual assault by a family member and a landlord.

“It may explain, at least in part, what led to your behavior,” the judge said. “It most surely is not an excuse.”

Jovante Cunningham, a former backup singer for Kelly, praised the sentence.

“I started this journey 30 years ago,” Cunningham said outside the court after the hearing. “There wasn’t a day in my life up until this moment that I actually believed that the judicial system would come through for Black and brown girls. I stand here very proud of my judicial system, very proud of my fellow survivors and very pleased with the outcome.”

In deciding the sentence, Donnelly said she considered Kelly’s own traumatic childhood, during which his attorneys said he was repeatedly sexually abused by a family member and a landlord.

“It may explain, at least in part, what led to your behavior,” the judge said. “It most surely is not an excuse.”

Jovante Cunningham, a former backup singer for Kelly, praised the sentence.

“in my life up until this moment that I actually believed that the judicial system would come through for Black and brown girls. I stand here very proud of my judicial system, very proud of my fellow survivors and very pleased with the outcome.”

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