(CHICAGO) — A federal judge in Chicago sentenced singer R. Kelly to 20 years in prison for his child pornography and enticement of minors for sex convictions Thursday.
However, the sentencing only adds one more year to his prison time as Kelly will serve 19 years concurrently with his New York prison sentence, according to Chicago ABC station WLS. He would then be required to serve one year in the Chicago case.
Kelly is already serving a 30-year prison sentence after he was convicted in a New York federal court last year of racketeering and violating the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law, including having sex with underage girls.
Kelly could have could faced between 10 to 90 years in prison for the crimes he was charged with in Chicago.
Prosecutors had recommended Kelly serve 25 years in prison, consecutively to his New York sentence, calling him a sexual predator who used his fame and wealth to abuse his victims, and has shown no remorse, according to WLS.
Kelly’s lawyer asked for a sentence of 10 years to be served concurrently with his New York sentence, saying Kelly being abused as a child justified leniency, according to WLS.
The disgraced 55-year-old singer was found guilty in September in what was his second federal trial.
Kelly faced multiple child pornography, sex abuse and obstruction charges involving an earlier investigation that ended with his acquittal in a 2008 state child pornography trial in his hometown of Chicago.
Prosecutors alleged that in the late 1990s, Kelly engaged in sex acts with five victims while they were all under the age of 18 and created explicit videos with four of them.
A jury found Kelly guilty on three counts of child pornography and three counts of enticing a minor. He was acquitted of a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge accusing him of fixing the 2008 trial.
The immensely successful recording artist has won three Grammy Awards and sold tens of millions of records, but his career was always consistently dogged and eventually ended by accusations of sexual impropriety dating back 30 years.
Gregory Preston, R. Kelly’s uncle, told reporters he believes Kelly will be set free on appeal.
“I’m just praying that everything will go well and that he will go free, because we all know that he’s innocent,” Preston told reporters after the sentencing.
Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s lawyer, told reporters he is “in good spirits,” but said they have a tough fight ahead of them as they challenge Kelly’s New York convictions.
“We will appeal this case as well,” Bonjean said.
Bonjean said the judge took into account Kelly’s age when issuing his sentence, but said Kelly will likely die in prison serving his current sentences.
Speaking after the sentencing, John Lausch, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, thanked victims for coming forward and called the sentence “significant.”
“A 20-year sentence in this case is impactful,” Lausch said. “That insures that there will be a significant period of time that R. Kelly will not be out on the streets to be able to do additional harm to others.”
“Are we disappointed that we didn’t get more of a consecutive sentence? Absolutely,” Lausch added.
Lausch also said the prosecution was most disappointed that they did not get more of a restitution sentence, saying it is critically important in these cases.
“This sentencing is a reminder that power and privilege does not exempt anyone from the reach of the long arm of the law,” Sean Fitzgerald, special agent in charge at Homeland Security Investigations, told reporters.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.