R. Kelly’s lawyer seeks minimum 10-year prison term in NY for former superstar



R. Kelly's lawyer seeks minimum 10-year prison term in NY for former superstar

The lawyer for R. Kelly has asked a federal judge to sentence the onetime R&B superstar to a mandatory minimum 10-year prison term for his conviction in New York on federal racketeering charges.

Attorney Jennifer Bonjean made the request in a sentencing memorandum filed late Monday under seal in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

Bonjean told the Tribune on Tuesday she filed the document under seal “out of an abundance of caution” because it contained sensitive information about Kelly’s past — including sexual abuse he allegedly endured as a child — as well as details that could “implicate others” in wrongdoing.

She said the document could be unsealed ahead of Kelly’s June 29 sentencing hearing if the judge gives the OK.

“Our position is that the mandatory minimum sentence is appropriate in this case,” said Bonjean from California, where she’s preparing for closing arguments in a civil trial involving actor Bill Cosby. “There is significant mitigating evidence, particularly related to his extremely traumatic childhood that shaped him as an adult.”

Included in the filing were two reports from doctors who evaluated Kelly in the federal lockup in Brooklyn late last month, Bonjean said. One of those doctors did an independent collateral investigation that made it clear Kelly’s allegations were “not just self-reporting,” she said.

Kelly, 55, one of the biggest music stars Chicago has ever produced, was convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn in September of racketeering conspiracy and eight other counts alleging the singer used his organization to lure and trap girls, boys and young women to satisfy his predatory desires.

In addition to the main count of racketeering, the jury found Kelly guilty on all eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits travel over state lines for illegal sex. He was also convicted in a 1994 scheme to bribe an Illinois public aid official to get a phony ID for 15-year-old singer Aaliyah so the two could get illegally married.

Last week, prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly to sentence Kelly to more than 25 years in prison, writing that his conviction was part of a “long and pervasive history of enticing children to engage in sexual activity.”

“He lured young girls and boys into his orbit, often through empty or conditioned promises of assistance in developing a career in the entertainment industry or simply by playing into the minors’ understandable desire to meet and spend time with a popular celebrity,” prosecutors wrote in a 31-page sentencing filing.

As the leader of his enterprise, Kelly felt emboldened to commit his criminal acts “in plain sight,” and employ others to help recruit women and girls and satisfy his sexual whims, prosecutors said.

Kelly’s crimes also were not “aberrational” but his regular way of operating, “which he had no intention of ceasing,” prosecutors wrote. It continued even after he was indicted on child pornography charges in Cook County, a case that ended with his acquittal in 2008.

“If anything, the (Kelly’s) acquittal after his state trial appears to have emboldened the defendant with a belief that he was untouchable and, over the next decade, the (his) crimes continued unabated,” the prosecution memo stated.

Kelly has been in custody since his arrest in July 2019. Federal defendants must serve 85% of their sentence, so if Kelly were to receive 25 years in prison, with credit for the time he’s already been locked up, he’d be out when he’s 72.

But if Bonjean’s recommendation wins the day, Kelly could be released in as little as five years.

But the legal woes for the Grammy-winning singer, whose hits include 1996′s “I Believe I Can Fly,” will not be over even with his sentencing in New York.

He also faces a pending trial in August in Chicago’s federal courthouse, where prosecutors allege he and two others fixed his 2008 trial in Cook County, as well as four separate indictments alleging sexual abuse that are still pending at Chicago’s Leighton Criminal Court Building. Kelly also faces a solicitation case in state court in Minnesota.

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Source : https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/criminal-justice/ct-r-kelly-sentencing-memo-defense-new-york-racketeering-20220614-jfg7pxrbtra3na2fk2anxnwtde-story.html#ed=rss_www.chicagotribune.com/arcio/rss/category/news/

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