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R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking and racketeering by federal Judge Ann Donnelly yesterday. The singer was convicted of these crimes in September 2021. He could have received a life sentence.
Prosecutors allege that Kelly sold some of his music rights for roughly $5 million around the time of his conviction trial. They asked the judge to consider this fact as his fine was contemplated.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes disclosed the claims just before the Brooklyn federal justice handed down a 30-year sentence and $140,000 to the singer.
Apparently, Kelly funneled his music rights to a childhood friend around the time of his six-week sex trafficking trial last year.
The Assistant U.S. Attorney stated that his R&B music received revenue from two separate forms of intellectual property rights. Kelly’s master recordings are owned by Sony. He owned the rights to his composition and lyrics until August 2021, which is the month his trial began.
Royalties from his master recordings have been withheld by Sony as they deal with judgments related to civil legal proceedings against Kelly. Currently, the company is holding around $3.5-$4.5 million worth of royalties for the singer. Geddes added there was $7 million owed in judgments.
The person who purchased Kelly’s composition and lyric rights for $5 million has not been disclosed. However, the proceeds were being held by the singer’s childhood friend Keith Halbert. The prosecution added that Halbert also received hundreds of thousands of dollars from royalties for those rights.
“I am not familiar with him being able to get $5 million,” stated Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s attorney.
Bonjean argued that Judge Donnelly should not consider the potential for future royalties as a fine. Many have refused to play Kelly’s music since he was convicted as a sex trafficker and rapist. However, it should be noted that some people stopped listening to his music when he was first accused of the crimes.
Kelly’s lawyer added that she thought he was “pretty close to indigent. He doesn’t have any regular sources of income.”
In addition to the 30-year sentence, Judge Donnelly issued a $100,000 fine plus a statutory $40,000 human trafficking penalty to Kelly.
Many of the singer’s victims feel his sentence is “bittersweet.”
Written by Sheena Robertson
Yahoo! News: R. Kelly funneled millions of dollars from music royalties through a childhood friend right before his sex-trafficking conviction, prosecutors allege
GMA: R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking, racketeering
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