R. Kelly was once on top of the world. The R&B superstar had multiple Billboard Hot 100 hits throughout the ’90s, including “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Bump N’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin’.” In retrospect, some of those songs painted a subtle portrait of a sex addict with a proclivity for young women.
Kelly’s reputation proceeded him, but he was able to skate by. That all changed in 2019 with the premiere of Surviving R. Kelly on the Lifetime Television Network. With the spotlight on Kelly and his alleged sexual misconduct, he was ultimately arrested. Three years later, R. Kelly is still sitting behind bars after being found guilty in September 2021 on charges including sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, racketeering and sex trafficking involving five victims.
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Now, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York are asking the judge to sentence the embattled singer to 25 years in prison. According to the New York Post, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York wrote to the judge on the case, “In light of the seriousness of the offenses, the need for specific deterrence and the need to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant … the government respectfully submits that a sentence in excess of 25 years is warranted.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office added Kelly relied on his “fame, money and popularity as an R&B recording star to both carry and conceal his crimes […] He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account.”
They also said R. Kelly is “unlikely to be deterred from further sexually abusing and exploiting children and others.” If possible, they’d like to see him sit in prison until his 70s.
“Indeed, the defendant’s decades of crime appear to have been fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct — no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating or abuse to other — to the strictures of the law,” the US Attorney’s office stated.
Kelly is facing additional criminal charges in Minnesota, where state prosecutors have charged him with engaging in prostitution with a minor and federal prosecutors in Illinois charged him for child pornography and obstruction.