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R. Kelly Handed 30-Year Jail Term

Entertainment

R. Kelly Handed 30-Year Jail Term

Over the past few years, the Rhythms and Blues vocalist and lyricist R. Kelly has been the subject of heavy scrutiny after it came to light that he misused his well-known status to partake in multiple illicit deeds. These deeds involve, among other things, human trafficking, sexual assault, and federal corruption. Last year, he was found guilty of these offenses, and this week, he was given his punishment.

US District Court Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced Kelly to a three-decade prison term, a harsher penalty than what both the prosecution and the defense had anticipated. Donnelly remarked, “You caused extensive damage to numerous lives.” Donnelly briefly made reference to Kelly’s own past involving sexual assault, noting that “It might, to some degree, explain the reasons behind your actions. However, it is by no means a justification.”

One of Kelly’s former supporting vocalists, Jovante Cunningham, reacted positively to the verdict. “I embarked on this journey three decades ago,” Cunningham shared with the media after the trial. “Never did I think, until this point, that the legal system would stand up for Black and minority females. I am standing here with great pride in my legal system, deep respect for my fellow survivors, and content with the final decision.”

Kelly chose not to speak directly to the court, but relayed a message through his lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean. “He acknowledges his imperfections,” Bonjean stated, “but he is not this one-sided fiend as painted by the authorities and the press.” She also mentioned that Kelly “feels remorseful. He is saddened. Nobody wants to hear what was unfolded today.”

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