R Kelly will serve an additional year in prison on charges relating to indecent images of children and child enticement after completing his 30-year racketeering sentence, a federal judge has ruled.
The disgraced R&B singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was handed a 20-year prison term on Thursday, but he will serve nearly all of the sentence simultaneously alongside the sentence he received in 2022.
Following a high-profile trial in New York in 2021, he was found guilty of racketeering and trafficking, which came after years of accusations throughout his career.
This additional sentence means Kelly will serve no more than 31 years. He will be eligible for release by the time he is 80 years old.
The central question going into the sentencing in Kelly’s hometown of Chicago was whether District Judge Harry Leinenweber would order the 56-year-old to serve the additional sentence simultaneously with or only after he completes his 30-year sentence.
The latter would have been equal to a life sentence.
Prosecutors had acknowledged that lengthening his sentence would have erased any chance of Kelly getting out of prison alive, but argued that his crimes against children and lack of remorse justified it.
Two of Kelly’s accusers also asked the judge to punish him harshly.
In a statement read aloud in court, a woman who testified under the pseudonym “Jane” said she had lost her early aspirations to become a singer herself and her hopes for fulfilling relationships.
Kelly rose from poverty to become one of the world’s biggest R&B stars. He became known for chart-topping hits including I Believe I Can Fly, Bump ‘N’ Grind and Ignition.
Although abuse allegations began circulating in the 1990s, widespread outrage followed the #MeToo reckoning and the 2019 series Surviving R Kelly.