“To the victims in this case, your voice has been heard and justice has finally been served,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Kasulis said outside a Brooklyn courthouse after a jury indicted the 54-year-old R&B star on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering. Convicted.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly is set to sentence Wednesday in a federal court in Brooklyn after hearing statements from victims and possibly Kelly.
Prosecutors are seeking a term of at least 25 years, while the defense says he is entitled to a sentence of 10 years or less.
“She’s strong, and we’re going to get through this,” defense attorney Jennifer Bonzen said on her way to court. He said that whatever his sentence, Kelly expects his sentence to be overturned on appeal.
Before being sentenced, what’s next for Kelly, who faces even more charges in other federal and state cases in Illinois and Minnesota?
And what does the sentence mean for the #MeToo movement, which helped shed light on decades of abuse allegations against Kelly?
R. When will Kelly be sentenced?
Kelly, who has been behind bars since his arrest in July 2019, is expected to be sentenced at a hearing scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday.
The singer faces the prospect of decades in prison for offenses that include violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex law that prohibits anyone carrying “for any immoral purpose” across state lines. puts
. Prosecutors submitted a memo stating that the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer should serve at least 25 years in prison, saying Kelly used his “fame, money and popularity” systematically. “To hunt children and young women for their own sexual gratification.”
Amidst several sordid allegations, jurors heard testimony about a fraudulent marriage plan hatched to protect Kelly when they feared That he had impregnated R&B phenom Alia in 1994, when she was just 15 years old. Witnesses said they were married in a jogging suit using a license that incorrectly listed his age. as 18; He was 27 years old at that time.
The competing defense memo suggested prosecutors’ arguments for a higher sentence by falsely claiming Kelly participated in the bribery of “a public aid officer to create an identity card” that led to a rift between him and the late singer Aaliyah. Allowed fake marriages to proceed.
What does the verdict mean for R. Kelly’s other trials?
The New York case is only one part of the legal crisis facing Kelly.
Singer has pleaded not guilty to similar charges in Illinois and Minnesota, and it is not yet clear how the verdict and sentencing in Brooklyn will affect those cases. The trial in Illinois is expected to begin on August 15
. “All parties, except Kelly, want an expedited trial date,” said Michael Irving Leonard, Kelly’s former attorney at the time the singer’s other pending trials were decided.
But Lynn Hecht Schaffran, legal director of Legal Momentum, a longtime legal advocacy organization for women, said the verdict and sentencing do not mean that other state and federal lawsuits pending against Kelly will not go ahead or proceed. .
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“Every victim has the right to have their voice heard and get justice in their individual case,” she told USA TODAY.
In addition, there is tremendous political pressure to pursue sex-abuse cases among the least-reported and under-prosecuted offenses in the country, says Rahmani, who is following the Kelly case.
Neema”So when you tell the victims that R. Kelly isn’t going to get justice for the acts done against (them), it’s not going to happen to both the public and the victims.”
What does R. Kelly’s sentence for #MeToo mean?
According to advocates for sexual assault survivors, Kelly’s sentencing may offer hope to those who come forward with charges, including women of color who may be intimidated
. Today’s verdict empowers survivors everywhere to feel that they are not alone.”
For years, the public and news media were more baffled than intimidated by allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors against the singer, Kelly’s illicit marriage to R&B phenom Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old.
His records and concert tickets kept on sale. Other artists continued to record her songs even after she was arrested in 2002 and accused of sexually abusing and urinating a 14-year-old girl. He was acquitted in that case in 2008
Widespread public condemnation didn’t come until the widely-watched documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” helped make his case an indicator of #MeToo . era, and gave voice to accusers who wondered whether their stories had previously been ignored because they were black women.
Within months of the series being televised in 2019, Kelly was arrested.
“I don’t think TV producers should decide who to prosecute in this country, but we are dealing with limited government resources and these are political realities that we need to accept,” Rahmani said. “It’s a new world we’re living in.”
Shafran called the verdict a “step toward justice” and a possible sign that society has “reached a new stage of unwillingness to ignore the damage” Kelly and others have caused many young lives.
“The next step is to hold supporters accountable – Kelly did not keep all these young women in the throes, nor to avoid accountability for their actions,” she said.
Contribution: Tom Hays, Larry Numeister, Associated Press; Elise Brisco Cydney Henderson, Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit hotline.rainn.org/online and get confidential help.