Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have hinted that R. Kelly should get more than 25 years prison sentence.
They argued Wednesday that this is to protect the public from the “calculated, methodical” way he used his fame to lure underage girls to his thrall.
In a sentencing memo filed in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday night, prosecutors argued the disgraced R&B superstar shouldn’t see freedom “until he reaches his 70s” because he would otherwise go back to his sex trafficking ways.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer, 55, was found guilty of running a decades-long sexual abuse operation that targeted women, girls and some young men who went to his sold-out concerts or met him in malls or even at a McDonald’s in Chicago.
“Given the breadth of the defendant’s conduct and its continuity over a period of decades, the government has little doubt that if afforded an opportunity to offend again, the defendant would do so,” federal prosecutors wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly.
Kelly was found guilty on all counts by the jury following a 25-day trial in Brooklyn Federal Court in which more than 40 witnesses and 11 accusers took the stand.
The sex trafficking conviction in September 2021 set him up for a sentence that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life.
Prosecutors on Wednesday asked Donnelly to put him away for “in excess of 25 years,” arguing the type of crimes he committed were far worse than traditional racketeering offenses.
“He committed these crimes using his fame and stardom as both a shield, which prevented close scrutiny or condemnation of his actions, and a sword, which gave him access to wealth and a network of enablers to facilitate his crimes, and an adoring fan-base from which to cull his victims,” federal prosecutors wrote.
“Put simply, the defendant’s crimes were calculated, methodical, and part a long- standing pattern of using his platform as a larger-than-life musical persona and his deep network to gain access to teenagers, many of whom were particularly vulnerable, and then to exploit them for his personal gain and sexual gratification.”
During his trial, witnesses recounted how he beat girls and women with shoes, cords and his fists and delivered spankings that left bruises when they broke his rules, women testified at the trial. He called the spankings “chastisements.”
Sentencing was previously scheduled for June 15, but pushed back to June 29.
Kelly still faces trial in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, scheduled to start Aug. 1.