Feds want R. Kelly to serve more than 25 years in prison

R. Kelly appears in an Illinois state courthouse in a 2019 file photo. (Image via Antonio Perez/pool via Getty Images.)

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday asked a U.S. District Court judge to sentence a convicted sex trafficker. R. Kelly to a prison term of “greater than 25 years”. This is in accordance with a federal sentencing memorandum.

“In view of the seriousness of the crimes, the need for specific deterrence and the need to protect the public from the defendant’s new crimes, as well as the other factors provided for in art. [federal law]the government respectfully asserts that a sentence of more than 25 years is justified,” the prosecutors wrote.

The feds also reminded the judge that, in their opinion, Kelly remains technically eligible for a possible life sentence — but they left her recommendation open for the judge to consider.

Prosecutors are also asking for a fine of between $50,000 and $250,000.

A Brooklyn jury has convicted the now 55-year-old R&B singer, known in the court system by his legal name. Robert Sylvester Kellyon extortion, child exploitation and other charges on September 27, 2021. The jury agreed that Kelly was guilty of all the alleged charges, but found that prosecutors failed to prove three specific sub-accusations involving a specific victim.

“[W]With the help of his inner circle and over a period of decades, the defendant preyed on children and young women for his own sexual gratification,” federal prosecutors said in Wednesday’s memo. “He has lured girls and boys into his orbit, often through empty or conditioned promises of assistance in developing a career in the entertainment industry or simply playing on minors’ understandable desire to meet and spend time with a popular celebrity.”

“To carry out his many crimes, the defendant relied on his fame, money and popularity as an R&B star and used the large network of people his status afforded him – including his business managers, bouncers and bouncers, couriers, lawyers. , accountants and assistants – both to carry out and to conceal their crimes,” these same prosecutors said. “He continued his crimes and avoided punishing them for nearly 30 years and now he must be held accountable.”

The first nine pages of the 31-page single-spaced sentencing memo read like a soap opera about the charges brought during Kelly’s trial. The document then started a technical discussion about the level of offense for each specific act for which Kelly was convicted.

celebrity defense attorney Jennifer Bonjeanthat before represented Bill Cosbyrecently took over the Kelly case.

Lawyer Jennifer Bonjean spoke out of Bill Cosby

Lawyer Jennifer Bonjean spoke outside Bill Cosby’s home on June 30, 2021 in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, as Cosby was released from prison after an appeals court overturned his sexual assault conviction. (Photo by Michael Abbott/Getty Images.)

Bonjean argued in an earlier May 27 motion that the appropriate sentence range for Kelly was 168 to 210 months, or 14 to 17.5 years. She noted that the government had previously stated that Kelly was eligible for a life sentence – a claim she wanted to refute.

“[M]any of the government’s suggested improvements and parole are simply not supported by the evidence and the law,” Bonjean wrote.

Bonjean stated that Kelly should be sentenced as follows. The numbers indicate federal “offense levels” which are then used to calculate a sentence according to a federal handbook.

Extortion Act One: Bribery – 12

Extortion Act Two: Sexual Exploitation (Stephanie) – 32

Extortion Acts Three and Four: Kidnapping and Violations of the Mann Act: (Sonya) – ACQUITTED

Extortion Act Five: Violation of the Mann Act (Jerhonda) – 24

Extortion Act Six: Forced Labor – (Jerhonda) – 32

Extortion Act Seven: Sexual Exploitation of a Child – (Jerhonda) – 32

Extortion Act Eight: Violation of Mann’s Act (Jane) – 14

Extortion Act Nine: Violation of the Mann Act (Jane) – 24

Extortion Act Ten: Violation of Mann’s Act (Jane) – 32

Extortion Act Eleven: Forced Labor – (Jane) – 22

Extortion Act Twelve: Violation of the Mann Act – (Faith) – 14

Extortion Act Thirteen: Forced Labor – (Faith) – 22

Extortion Act Fourteen: Violation of the Mann Act – (Faith) – 14

Federal prosecutors offered different levels of offense in most, but not all, of the above acts. For example, for the second act, the feds recommended an offense level of 34, not 32. For act seven, the feds suggested an offense level of 36, not 32. Interestingly, although for act six, the feds suggested an offense level of 22, not a level of 32 as suggested by Bonjean.

Bonjean argued that some of the counts should be grouped together for calculation purposes as follows:

Extortion Act One – 12

Extortion Act Two – 32

Extortion Acts Five, Six and Seven – 32

Extortion Act Eight – 13

Extortion acts nine and ten (counts two, three, four and five) – 32

Extortion Act Eleven – 22

Extortion act twelve (count six and seven) – 14

Extortion Act Thirteen – 22

Extortion act fourteen (counts eight and nine) – 14

When combined, Bonjean says that R. Kelly’s offensive level is 35. That’s because the “highest offensive level” is 32, and the level increases by three due to the number of “groups” listed above. When mapped to a “criminal history score” of “one” on a federal sentencing chart, that puts R. Kelly in a prison cell for 168-210 months, according to the defense.

Federal prosecutors responded that R. Kelly’s “total offense level” is actually 45. With a criminal record category of “I” (zero to one), the “applicable range of the Guidelines is life imprisonment.”

Bonjean also said the government’s attempt to seek a “four-tier improvement” on some of the charges is not adequate. This government theory claimed that Kelly was “an organizer or leader of a criminal activity that involved five or more participants or was extensive,” Bonjean noted. However, Kelly “has argued extensively that the government has failed to show the existence of a company,” she suggested.


Government evidence showed that Defendant was a famous artist who employed many people over the years. The defendant was unquestionably the head of its officials, but the government is far from establishing that he was a leader of criminal activity. In fact, the government has not even attempted to prove the criminal activity of the organization or other employees of the organization. A four-tier upgrade is simply not guaranteed here.

Bonjean also claimed that one of the victims, Jane, was “instructed” to lie about her age and therefore Kelly should not face a tougher punishment on account:

Blatantly, the government seeks to improve the scope of Defendant’s guidelines under a theory that Jane’s parents entrusted Defendant with their supervision when she was a minor “allegedly to help her in her music career” after which Jane lived with Defendant. . The record shows that Jane’s parents instructed Jane to lie to the defendant about her age and then encouraged her to seduce him in April 2015, when she was 17 years old. Real-time text messages between Jane and her mother reveal that Jane’s mother wanted the defendant to further Jane’s music career by initiating a romantic relationship with him. Once again, the government seeks to sanitize the facts of this case which show that after Jane first met Defendant, she immediately began traveling with Defendant and never returned home. Nothing in the record suggests that Jane’s parents were opposed to this relationship. The evidence shows just the opposite. In fact, Jane’s mother jokingly told her daughter weeks after Jane met the Defendant that her son-in-law would be older than her. Jane’s mother certainly knew Jane’s age, even if the Defendant did not.

The record does not show that Jane’s parents “trusted” the Defendant with Jane’s care, as much as Jane was convinced that she wanted to live with the Defendant in Chicago and Jane’s parents were eager to support her relationship with the Defendant, presumably because they expected riches to flow to them. Was Defendant who sent Jane home after Jane revealed she was 17. Regardless, Jane was not a minor in the state of Illinois at age 17 when she returned to Chicago shortly before her 18th birthday, as the government claims. As such, an enhancement under this theory cannot be applied.

Bonjean also promised to present additional arguments for a lower sentence in a supplemental summary.

Prosecutors, as noted earlier, rejected these suggestions and argued that Kelly was fully in control:

Given the breadth of the defendant’s conduct and its continuity over decades, the government has little doubt that if given the opportunity to offend again, the defendant would do so. The defendant’s instant insults and track record demonstrate that he poses a serious danger to the public. His actions were brazen, manipulative, controlling and coercive. He showed no remorse or respect for the law. As set out above, for over a decade several women and girls have maintained legal representation to sue the defendant as a result of the harm he caused them. The harms raised in these matters included the defendant having sexual contact with minors who were too young to consent to such contact, exposing women and girls to genital herpes and physical assault. As a result of the defendant’s wealth, he was able to resolve these issues without facing criminal charges and instead paid his victims to resolve these cases. Despite this opportunity to reform his behavior a second, third and fourth time, the defendant was not deterred and continued to engage in criminal conduct. In fact, his conduct increased.

“The sentence requested by the government would incapacitate the defendant until he reached the age of 70,” prosecutors said.

Bonjean recently convinced the US District Judge Anne M. Donnelly recently to push back Kelly’s sentencing date in Brooklyn.

The sentence was scheduled for June 15, but was delayed to June 29 because Bonjean said he was struggling to meet Kelly in federal prison due to Covid-19 restrictions. She also said she needed more time for mitigation experts to properly examine the matter.

“No further deferments will be granted,” Donnelly said in agreeing to this deferment.

The June 29 sentencing date in Brooklyn still predates Kelly’s trial in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. That case is scheduled to begin on August 1.

The federal sentencing table mentioned above and the entire prosecution’s sentencing memo are below:

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