R Kelly Sentenced to 30 years in prison
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R&B singer R Kelly, 55, was just sentenced to 30 years in prison following a conviction in federal court last year for racketeering and sexual assault - meaning it's very likely he could die behind bars.

Kelly faced seven of his accusers on Wednesday (29 June), who provided victim impact statements that recounted their experiences with the musician.

Prosecutors had called for Kelly to receive over 25 years behind bars to "protect the public" from him. His 30-year sentence means he could be 85 by the time he's eligible for release - US life expectancy is about 78.

In September 2021, he was charged with nine counts, including eight counts of Mann Act violations and one racketeering charge.

The Mann Act bans the interstate transportation of women and girls for "any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offence."

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Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing the three women who testified against the singer, informed reporters that none would be able to "undo the harm that has been done to these victims."

The defense attorneys that are representing Kelly argued that he should only be subjected to no more than 10 years in prison. They also said that anything longer than that was a "tantamount to a death sentence."

The defence team had even attempted to argue that the singer could receive a lighter sentence because of his upbringing because he was subjected to sexual abuse as a child.

"Mr Kelly rejects that he's this monster," said Kelly's attorney, Jennifer Bonjean.

Breon Peace, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, spoke with reporters after the ruling.

"R Kelly is a predator. He continued committing his crimes for almost 30 years and avoided punishment – until today," he said.

Peace added: "These are the voices of mostly Black and brown women and children who were heard and believed. Justice was finally achieved."

Kelly first encountered accusations that he was having sex with minors in the 1990s.

In 1994, he married fellow singer Aaliyah when she was 15 years old, allegedly to make sure that she wouldn't be able to testify against him in court.

And in 2002, he was charged for allegedly possessing child sexual abuse images but was acquitted in 2008.

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