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Sex as a weapon: R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex abuse

Robert Sylvester Kelly

Popular US RnB singer R. Kelly had been handed a 30 year jail term for sexually abusing vulnerable children and women.

R. Kelly performing on stage. He won several awards during his music career

According to BBC, a jury empanelled in September in New York convicted the acclaimed musical icon of racketeering and sex trafficking crimes. However, his lawyers said the singer, who has been locked up since July 2019 when he was indicted by prosecutors in New York and Chicago will appeal the verdict.

R. Kelly appearing in court in Chicago

His six-week trial in New York demonstrated how Kelly trafficked women between different States, with active connivance of his support staff. Jurors also heard how he fraudulently acquired paperwork to marry singer Aaliyah when she was an underage 15 years old in 1994. The paperwork falsified Aaliyah's age as 18 at the time. Although the marriage was annulled after few months, reported BBC.

Aaliyah, married to R.Kelly as an underage

The District Judge presiding over the case said "the celebrity had used sex as a weapon, forcing his victims to do unspeakable things and saddling them with incurable diseases."

Federal prosecutors had recommended prison sentence of more than 25 years for the singer, considering the gravity of his crime and the need to protect the society from further harm.

R. Kelly in orange prison khaki

His lawyer, in contrast prayed the court for a lesser sentence of 10 years - the mandatory minimum for his conviction - or less per the BBC. They alleged he was also a victim of domestic violence and child abuse in his childhood.

The verdict recently handed down may not be the end of R.Kelly's legal woes though. He will be arrigned in August in Chicago where he faces further charges on child sex images and obstruction of justice.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61989606

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