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R Kelly Appears In Court in Chicago For Status Hearing

R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. | Source: Pool / Getty

A federal judge in Illinois has sentenced disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly to 20 years in prison for child sex crimes.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber handed down the sentence after the “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner was found guilty in late 2022 on three counts each of producing child pornography and enticing a minor into criminal sexual activity, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. However, Leinenweber did allow 19 of those years to be served concurrently with Kelly’s current prison sentence of 30 years for a federal racketeering case in New York.

In all, it looks like the 56-year-old will be locked up well into his 80s.

“No matter what I do, Mr. Kelly isn’t going out the door after today,” Leinenweber said. “He’s not going out the door in the next 10 years, he’s not going out the door in the next 20 years.”

The New York Times reported that one of Kelly’s lawyers argued that the new sentence means the disgraced singer will “likely die in prison.”

Prosecutors initially sought a non-concurrent 25-year sentence. However, Leinenweber believes that Kelly would not be a threat at his advanced age when he is eventually released. “Eighty-year-olds are more interested, not in grooming young women, but on their prostate and other factors that go into the aging process,” he said.

Along with an additional year in prison, the judge also ordered that Kelly pays $42,000 in restitution to one of the victims in the case, known as “Pauline” during the trial. The claims of the other two victims, identified as “Jane” and “Nia,” were denied due to them having settled with Kelly in a civil case.

Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said earlier that additional time behind bars would be “overkill.” She said she plans to appeal the sentence.

Kelly was sentenced just about a month after Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx made a seemingly clairvoyant announcement that she intended to drop sex-abuse charges against the disgraced singer.

“Mr. Kelly is potentially looking at the possibility of never walking out of prison again for the crimes that he’s committed,” the Chicago prosecutor said last month, referring to his federal convictions. “While today’s cases are no longer being pursued, we believe justice has been served.”

Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison following his conviction in New York City last year for sex trafficking. He was found guilty of nine criminal counts for sexually abusing multiple underage boys and girls as well as women over the course of more than three decades. The court ruled specifically that he violated the Mann Act, a law that prohibits “the transportation therein for immoral purposes of women and girls, and for other purposes.”


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R. Kelly’s Sentencing For Child Sex Crimes Will Keep Him Locked Up Well Into His 80s  was originally published on