R. Kelly will be sentenced for racketeering and sex trafficking

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Prosecutors have recommended that Kelly be sentenced to more than 25 years in prison, arguing that the seriousness of the crimes for which he was convicted calls for “the need to protect the public from further crimes”.
Kelly was found guilty of nine counts, including racketeering and sex trafficking charges, after a five-week federal trial in Brooklyn that included testimony from multiple witnesses who said they were sexually and physically abused by Kelly. The trial also included testimony from several people involved in orchestrating Kelly’s 1994 marriage to late singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 and an adult after believing she had become pregnant. .
Prosecutors said Kelly used her celebrity status and “a network of people at her disposal to target girls, boys and young women for her own sexual gratification.”

Defense attorneys argued that Kelly should be sentenced to 10 years or less, saying more than that would be “more than necessary”.

Kelly is being held in a federal detention center in Brooklyn and, once convicted, is expected to be returned to Chicago where he will face another federal trial in August for child pornography and obstruction charges.

childhood trauma

In more than 14 hours of interviews with psychiatric experts, Kelly said her closest relationship growing up was with her mother. His earliest memories were of seeing his mother perform as a singer in a band called “Six Pack”, and he often accompanied her to McDonald’s where she drank coffee and they shared a pastry. He had never met his father and described his mother’s death as the most tragic event of his life, saying he would frequently go to McDonald’s to smell the coffee and remember her, according to a letter filed by Renee Sorrentino, assistant clinical professor at Harvard. Medicine School.

“To me, the ‘M’ stands for mom. Going to McDonald’s is always being with my mom,” Kelly said.

But his childhood was also marked by trauma.

Kelly watched a childhood sweetheart drown when he was a little boy. And several people interviewed by psychiatric experts say Kelly was repeatedly sexually abused from the age of six or seven, his lawyer wrote, saying he was abused by his older sister and also by a owner, sometimes on a “weekly basis.”

Sorrentino said in his letter that Kelly’s childhood sexual abuse may have contributed to his “hypersexuality” or difficulty controlling his sexual urges, and believes it was a factor in his criminal convictions.

While Kelly was found guilty of sexually exploiting a child, Sorrentino said she refused to diagnose Kelly as a pedophile because he told her his “sexual behavior never involved prepubescent individuals. “.

‘Equivalent to life imprisonment’

In the nine months since his conviction, Kelly has replaced his entire legal team with Jennifer Bonjean and her firm, the lawyer who helped Bill Cosby overturn his sexual assault conviction and, most recently, represented Cosby in a civil case which he lost at trial earlier. this month.

Prosecutors argued that Kelly “attacked children and young women for his own sexual gratification” for nearly 30 years with the help of those around him and that he must now be held accountable.

Bonjean writes that the prosecutor’s request to jail the singer for more than 25 years would amount to “a life sentence” for the 55-year-old singer.

R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking by federal jury in New York

CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor who prosecuted cases using both the racketeering laws and the Mann Law of which Kelly was convicted, said the judge will have a wide discretion to impose a sentence it deems fit.

“Generally, after a trial, it’s more difficult for a defendant to get the recommended sentencing range,” Honig said. “Now the judge has seen all the evidence against the defendant, heard the victims and that tends to increase the sentence.”

Prosecutors have been threatened

The weekend before Kelly was sentenced, a Chicago man named Christopher Gunn who had attended Kelly’s trial in Brooklyn was arrested and charged with uttering threats against the three US attorneys who prosecuted Kelly in New York, according to a copy of his arrest warrant.

Gunn was arrested on Saturday for allegedly posting threats to kill or seriously harm the three female prosecutors. According to the arrest warrant, Gunn posted a video to his YouTube channel in October, shortly after Kelly was found guilty, that showed an image of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York where the women work. Prosecutors believe a voice narrating the video is Gunn’s, and he says, “That’s where they are. That’s where they work… We’re going to storm the office,” saying each of the names of the three prosecutors.

“If you don’t have the stomach for the shit we’re about to do, I’m just asking you to bail,” he allegedly said in the video.

Prosecutors also said they analyzed a CashApp account linked to Gunn that shows multiple transactions from Feb. 26, 2021 through June 1 that they say indicate Gunn “engaged in the sale of firearm ammunition in connection with the ‘Kelly affair’. The transactions included $20 payouts with descriptions reading “30 Spins…R Kelly Free”. CNN has reached out to an attorney for Kelly for comment.

Prosecutors believe Gunn planned to attend Kelly’s sentencing on Wednesday after posting another video saying he had a “place” for supporters to meet near the courthouse.

CNN has reached out to an attorney for Gunn for comment. He is expected to have a detention hearing on Wednesday.

Singer support

Among the letters asking for a lower sentence for Kelly is one written by Diana Copeland, Kelly’s former assistant who testified as a government witness and also wrote a letter in support of Kelly saying that she had done it because it was the “right thing to do”.

“God does not want us to throw humans away,” Copeland wrote. “If we have the audacity to care for both perpetrators and victims, we can all rise again.”

Joycelyn Savage, who was considered a Kelly victim by prosecutors, remains a supporter.

“Robert and I are deeply in love and it breaks my heart that the government has created a narrative that I am a victim,” Savage wrote. “I am a grown woman and can speak for myself, which is why I wanted to provide this letter to the court.”

In her letter, Savage revealed that she was now engaged to Kelly.

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