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US Court Upholds R. Kelly Child Pornography Conviction, Sentence of 20 Years Affirmed

Child Pornography

A US federal appeals court has upheld R. Kelly’s 20-year prison sentence for child pornography and other crimes, dismissing the defense’s argument that the charges were filed too late due to the statute of limitations. The decision, delivered by a three-judge panel, marks a significant step in the singer’s ongoing legal battles.

Here are some details according to the report of The Philippine Star.

Conviction and Sentence

R. Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was convicted in a Chicago federal court for producing child pornography and enticing minors, among other charges. The sentence was issued in February last year, with Kelly’s lawyers claiming that the case was brought past the statute of limitations. However, the court ruled that the charges were valid and could not be dismissed on those grounds.

Kelly is already serving a 30-year sentence after being convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking in a separate federal trial in Brooklyn. The court decided that the two sentences would be served concurrently, with all but one year overlapping. This arrangement results in a combined maximum of 31 years in prison.

Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, said they plan to appeal the decision before the US Supreme Court. This indicates that the legal battle is far from over. “We are disappointed in the ruling but our fight is far from over,” Bonjean said.

Milestone for the #MeToo Movement

Kelly’s conviction and sentencing in 2022 marked significant milestones for the #MeToo movement. It was the first major sex abuse trial where most of the accusers were Black women. It was also the first time Kelly faced criminal consequences for the abuse he was rumored to have inflicted on women and children for decades.

R. Kelly, a Chicago native who rose to fame in the 1990s with hits like “I Believe I Can Fly,” became one of R&B’s biggest stars despite his controversial personal life. He had faced scrutiny and allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse for years. This included a marriage to 15-year-old Aaliyah, which was ultimately annulled.

Despite these allegations, Kelly continued to tour and record music, with little impact on his career. However, the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” released in January 2019, reignited public outrage and led to new legal action against the singer. Following the series, prosecutors in both Illinois and New York indicted Kelly. This leads to the current series of convictions and sentences.

Read Also: Filipino Cruise Worker Arrested in Florida for Planting Spy Cameras in Bathroom

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