Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly will be sentenced to up to life in prison on Wednesday nine months after his convictions on sex trafficking and racketeering charges, according to reports.
Born Robert Sylvester Kelly, he was accused of using his money, fame, and network of business managers, security guards, assistants, lawyers, and others to facilitate the abuse of women and minors for nearly three decades.
The trial, which started last year, was one of the most high-profile cases within the music industry to spring from the #MeToo Movement. It is also one of the most prominent cases in which the victims were mostly Black women.
A jury in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, found Kelly, 55, guilty of one count of racketeering and eight violations of the Mann Act, a law created to curb sex trafficking across state lines.
Kelly’s racketeering conviction included 14 underlying acts. For example, witnesses testified that the ’90s hitmaker fraudulently married R&B singer Aaliyah, who was 15 and believed to be pregnant at the time, by bribing a government official to give her a fake ID that claimed she was an adult. Kelly did this to protect himself legally while he sexually abused Aaliyah, starting when she was 12 or 13 years old, according to prosecutors. She died in a plane crash at 22 years old.
Also convicted of travelling across state lines for illegal sexual activity, coercion and enticement, and transportation of a minor, witnesses testified that Kelly and his team would use the performer’s celebrity to lure and make travel arrangements for his victims, many of them minors hoping for their big break in the music business, only for them to be sexually abused by Kelly.