Former R&B star R Kelly facing sentencing over sex trafficking conviction

Prosecutors described R Kelly as a predator who trapped and abused his victims for decades.(Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

When a jury found R&B superstar R Kelly guilty on all counts of sex trafficking, it was seen as a signature moment of the #MeToo movement.

Now Kelly’s sentencing has arrived, with the singer to front a New York court tomorrow.

R Kelly (whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly) is considered one of the most influential R&B artists of his generation and has sold more than 70 million records worldwide.

He’s best known for the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly, which won three Grammy Awards and featured on the soundtrack of the film Space Jam.

But before that, he had developed a reputation for his take on R&B with songs like Bump & Grind and Sex Me.

He’s also written and produced for many artists, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Aaliyah.

Back in September 2021, Kelly was found guilty of all charges in his sex trafficking trial in New York.

Kelly was facing one count of racketeering – essentially, running a criminal enterprise – and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to take people across state lines for the purposes of prostitution.

Prosecutors said Kelly took advantage of his fame and charisma to recruit victims, including some plucked from crowds at his concerts, with the aid of people in his entourage.

At the time, acting US attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said the guilty verdict “forever brands R Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification”.

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