The federal government is seeking to imprison R. Kelly for 25 years following his conviction in Illinois on sexual abuse and child pornography charges, WLS-TV reports
Kelly is already serving a 30-year prison sentence for a federal sex trafficking and racketeering conviction out of New York, what amounts to a virtual life sentence for the 56-year-old.
In court documents filed Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago acknowledged that a 25-year sentence is more severe than federal sentencing guidelines.
However, prosecutors argued that Kelly “refuses to accept responsibility for his crimes” and described the disgraced R&B singer as a “serial sexual predator who, over the course of many years, specifically targeted young girls and went to great lengths to conceal his abuse of [his] minor victims.”
“Kelly brazenly blames his victims and argues that his abuse of 14, 15, and 16 year-old girls was justified because some of his victims as minors ‘wanted to pursue a romantic and sexual connection’ with him and others remained in contact with him as adults,” the government’s 37-page sentencing memorandum states, quoting from a defense filing.
“At the age of 56 years old, Kelly’s lack of remorse and failure to grasp the gravity of his criminal conduct against children demonstrates that he poses a serious danger to society.”
Jennifer Bonjean, who represents Kelly, wrote in the defense’s sentencing recommendation that Kelly should receive a shorter sentence because he likely will never be released from prison following his conviction in New York, the Sun-Times reports.
“A 30-year sentence of imprisonment for an African American man with diabetes is a life sentence statistically speaking,” the defense sentencing memorandum reads.
Bonjean also suggested that Kelly is a victim because some of the minors pursued the relationships with him and that prosecutors targeted him because he is Black, according to NPR.
“The federal government’s obsession with ensuring that Kelly dies in prison is particularly troubling where it seems to have no appetite for investigating or initiating prosecutions of numerous other famous (White) musicians with credible histories of sexually abusing underage women,” Bonjean wrote in her sentencing memorandum.
The government is asking that Kelly’s Illinois sentence be imposed consecutively, or after the 30-year New York sentence, instead of on a concurrent basis, meaning Kelly’s time behind bars would count for both the New York and Illinois sentences simultaneously.
“Kelly committed horrific crimes against children,” the government’s sentencing memo reads. “Kelly does not comprehend that what he did was wrong. The Court should impose a consecutive sentence in order to protect the community from Kelly, as he has shown no signs of rehabilitation.”
The Illinois sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 23 in Chicago.
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[Featured image: R. Kelly/Chicago Police Department]