R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was found guilty of sexually abusing women, boys and girls for decades.
The disgraced 90s singer, 55, was convicted by a US federal jury in New York in September last year.
Sentencing Kelly today, Judge Ann Donnelly said he had used his “minions” to “lure young fans into your orbit”, and there were parts of his victims’ testimony she would “never forget”.
Kelly, dressed in a grey prison-issue uniform, did not appear to react as his sentence was passed.
He was branded a “predator” who used his fame and fortune to “prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification” following his conviction.
A court sketch of R Kelly during today’s sentencing hearing ( Image: REUTERS)
Federal prosecutors had called for him to be locked up for more than 25 years to “protect the public”, but his defence had argued that a sentence of 10 years or less is all he deserves as he’s “not currently a risk”.
He was convicted on multiple counts of racketeering, with the charges relating to bribery and forced labour.
Kelly was also found in violation of an anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.
The Ignition hitmaker, who denied all charges, was found guilty on all nine counts against him following a six-week trial in Brooklyn, New York.
Kelly was convicted on multiple counts of racketeering, with the charges relating to bribery and forced labour ( Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Today, Kelly was branded “the pied piper of R&B” as he came face to face with several of his victims who detailed his “deplorable and inexplicable” abuse ahead of his sentencing.
The court heard victim impact statements from seven women, presented anonymously to the court as Jane Does, who detailed Kelly’s “God-like complex” and how he used his “fame and power” to entice his victims.
A woman using the pseudonym Angela told him: “The pied piper of R&B, both in music and in technique and in approach.
“Success and love… you presented these glittering gems as if they were gold.
“With every addition of a new victim you grew in wickedness, cockiness, diminishing any form of humanity or self-awareness, which soon became the breeding ground for your God-like complex.
“You were doing, saying and encouraging despicable things that no one should be doing.”
“We reclaim our names from beneath the shadows of your afflicted trauma.”
R Kelly sits as a victim delivers her statement in court today ( Image: REUTERS)
Kelly looked straight ahead as the emotional statements were read out.
At one point a woman known as Jane Doe number two halted her statement saying she “did not want to interrupt (Kelly’s) conversation” as the singer appeared to confer with his lawyer.
“You are an abuser, you are shameless, you are disgusting,” she told him.
In her sentencing remarks, Judge Donnelly told Kelly: “Sentencing another human being is probably the most difficult thing a judge has to do.”
R Kelly appearing at court in 2019 in Chicago ( Image: Getty Images)
“It is fair to say, Mr Kelly, that you are a person that had some great advantage, you had worldwide fame and celebrity, untold money,” she said.
“Using your status and celebrity… you had a system of people that you used to lure young fans into your orbit.
“Having your minions troll for young people at the mall… handing out your phone number… for the opportunity to meet R Kelly.”
“You fancied yourself a genius that can do ‘whatever I want because of what I give to the world’.”
R Kelly arriving for a court hearing in 2019 in Chicago ( Image: Getty Images)
Recalling his treatment of his female victims, Judge Donnelly said there were parts of the testimony that she would “never forget”.
“You taught them that love is enslavement and violence,” she added.
On the opening day of the trial in New York last year, prosecutors told the jury Kelly, full name Robert Michael Kelly, used an entourage of managers, bodyguards and others to recruit victims.
During the case, the government called 45 witnesses to detail the horrific abuse the singer subjected his victims to.
R Kelly in 2008 ( Image: REUTERS)
In shocking claims, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said Kelly would require victims to get his permission before doing virtually anything, including going to the bathroom.
He then reportedly blackmailed them by threatening to release self-incriminating letters he forced them to write if they scarpered.
The singer is also claimed to have insisted on his victims calling him “Daddy” while filming their sexual encounters, controlling his victims “physically, sexually and psychologically”.
But Kelly’s lawyer Nicole Blank Becker said the government’s case had “gaps,” claiming his accusers were former fans who were scorned because they were unhappy their relationships didn’t work out.
R Kelly has been sentenced today ( Image: Getty Images)
“They knew exactly what they were getting into,” she said. “The relationships Mr. Kelly had with the various Jane Does were consenting relationships.”
Kelly’s most high-profile relationship was with the late singer Aaliyah.
Evidence presented at the trial suggested a fraudulent marriage scheme protected Kelly after he worried he had impregnated the R&B star in 1994 when she was just 15.
Witnesses said the couple were married using a license falsely listing her age as 18 – R Kelly was 27 at the time.
The disturbing case has gripped the nation and was unpicked in Netflix’s Surviving R Kelly documentary.
Kelly, who is pictured leaving a court in Chicago in 2019, has been given 30 years in prison ( Image: AFP via Getty Images)
The six-parter gave voice to accusers who wondered if their stories were previously ignored because they were Black women.
However in the series, the singer’s brother Bruce made a statement from jail, appearing to defend Kelly’s sexual history with underage girls.
Speaking wearing his prison uniform, he mused: “You have people who have fantasies about different things…