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    R Kelly’s Lawyers Respond to Government’s Request to Add 25 Years to His Sentence

    Despite a guilty verdict, R&B legend R Kelly‘s lawyers say he deserves a new trial or to be acquitted on technical grounds. The defense argues prosecutors failed to prove their case and allowed a witness to give perjured testimony.

    Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, is requesting a sentence of about 10 years — the lowest end of the sentencing guidelines range — and to serve it concurrently with the 30-year New York sentence he began serving last month. She says Kelly was singled out for behavior that white rock stars have gotten away with for decades.

    Prosecutors: Kelly exploited his stardom

    Kelly exploited his stardom and his wealth to attract star-struck fans, prosecutors say. The R&B singer used his entourage of managers, bodyguards, and aides to find girls at concerts, entice them with the promise of fame, and then keep them obedient.

    As a result, he and his entourage sex-trafficked women and children over the course of decades, a scheme that prosecutors said constituted racketeering, bribery, and Mann Act violations.

    The government also argued that a desire for money and fame drove some witnesses to accuse Kelly of sexual abuse. They also said he coerced at least one woman to engage in sex with him at age 17 and recorded her doing so on video.

    On Wednesday, a federal judge in New York sentenced the star to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking after he was convicted of those charges last year. The government wants 25 additional years added onto that sentence, which would mean he wouldn’t be eligible for release until he’s 80.

    Prosecutors: Kelly exploited his wealth

    A sentencing memorandum from the government states that Kelly exploited his wealth and his power to prey on children and young women. During the course of decades, Kelly preyed upon his victims “for his own sexual gratification,” according to prosecutors.

    The singer also illegally married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah in 1994 and had sexual relations with several underage girls. He was also indicted on 21 counts of child pornography.

    In the trial, prosecutors said Kelly used his money and fame to recruit women to engage in illegal sexual conduct with him, then directed members of his criminal enterprise to escort these girls backstage following his concerts.

    Jerhonda Pace, a brave woman, decided to break a non-disclosure agreement to share her experience of engaging in sexual activity with Kelly while she was underage. Another, Kitti Jones, claimed that the singer starved her and physically abused her. These claims come nearly 30 years after he was first accused of sexual misconduct and underline the importance of holding those in power accountable.

    Prosecutors: Kelly exploited his power

    The R&B singer, whose case has spawned a TV docu-series and a number of lawsuits and disavowals, was no stranger to predatory behaviors, prosecutors say. He exploited his power and his fame to seduce young women and recruit them for sexual exploitation, according to prosecutors’ evidence.

    Kelly enlisted his bodyguards and managers to help him find victims, who were often selected at concerts or other events, according to the government’s indictment. The singer’s bodyguards also arranged for the alleged victims to travel to his concerts and other events across state lines — in violation of the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people from one state to another for “immoral purposes.”

    Prosecutors said that Kelly imposed strict rules on his sexual partners that he believed made them dependent on him for their financial well-being and security. He required them to call him “Daddy,”; keep their rooms confined; not leave without his permission; wear baggy clothing; and not talk to other men, especially those who weren’t in Kelly’s company.

    Prosecutors: Kelly exploited his fame

    In a memo and in his trial, prosecutors said Kelly exploited his fame and his power to prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification. He did so with the help of a network that surrounded him over a period of decades.

    In court, witnesses testified that Kelly coerced them into sex, often filming their encounters and imposing strict rules, such as that girls must be naked during sex and that they must never tell anyone about his abuse. In some cases, they were forced to smear feces on their faces as punishment for breaking his rules.

    He also bribed government officials to obtain a fake ID for singer Aaliyah, who was 15 when she married him in 1994. The marriage, which was later annulled, allowed Kelly to shield himself from criminal charges and prevent Aaliyah from testifying against him.

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