Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence 55-year-old Kelly to a prison sentence of no more than 25 years, while her defense attorneys sought 10 or less, saying prosecutors’ request was “similar to a life sentence”. was.
Survivors of Kelly’s abuse hold hands and pray when US District Court Judge Ann Donnelly begins to read out her sentence. Kelly — who wore a tan prison uniform, dark glasses and a black mask during a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn — showed no emotion.
“You left a trace of a broken life in your life,” Donnelly told Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly.
In setting the sentence, Donnelly said she considers Kelly’s own traumatic childhood, during which her lawyers said she was repeatedly sexually abused by a family member and landlord.
“This may explain, at least in part, what led to your behavior,” the judge said. “It’s certainly not an excuse.”
Kelly’s former backup singer Jovante Cunningham praised the sentence.
“I started this journey 30 years ago,” Cunningham said outside the court after the hearing. “There was never a day in my life until this moment when I truly believed that there would be a judicial system for black and brown girls. I’m so proud of my judicial system here, so proud of my fellow survivors.” And am very happy with the result.”
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonzen, said she would not address the court, pointing to other criminal cases faced by Kelly, but said her client “denies that he is this monster” before the sentence is read.
“He accepts that he is a flawed person,” Bonjin said, “but he is not this one-dimensional monster portrayed by the government and portrayed by the media.”
Kelly made his only comment in response to the judge when Bonjin said he would not speak: “Yes, your honor, that is my wish.”
Bonjin said he advised Kelly not to speak on sentencing because of the pending trial against him, but said, “She regrets it. And she’s sad. No one wants to hear what she heard today.”
‘No one can compensate for the loss’
Before sentencing, the court heard statements to the effect of seven of Kelly’s victims, including Jane Doe 2, who testified at the trial.
Addressing Kelly, she said, “It’s been 23 years since we’ve known each other and since then you’ve poached a lot of girls.” He later said: “Now it’s your turn to take your freedom away from you.”
Defense lawyers and prosecutors argued in court on Wednesday whether Kelly could also pay the fine. The defense said he was “very close to poor” and could not. Prosecutors disagreed, saying that money from the sale of some of his music rights and millions of dollars in royalties held by Sony could cover any fines.
“We were up for it,” Bonjin said of the sentence out of court. “We are now ready to fight this appeal.”
Childhood trauma detected
In more than 14 hours of interviews with psychotherapists, Kelly said that his closest relationship was with his mother. His earliest memories were of seeing his mother perform as a vocalist in a band called “Six Pack” and he often accompanied her to McDonald’s where she drank coffee and they shared a pastry.
According to a letter filed by Renée Sorrentino, clinical assistant professor at Harvard, Kelly had never met her father and described her mother’s death as the saddest event in her life, saying that she could not smell coffee. And would often go to McDonald’s to remember him and remember him. medical School.
“For me, the ‘M’ stands for mom. Going to McDonald’s is always around my mother,” Kelly said.
But his childhood was also marked by trauma.
Kelly saw a childhood girlfriend drown when he was a little boy. And people interviewed by psychiatric experts say that Kelly was repeatedly sexually abused when he was a boy of 6 or 7, his attorney wrote, adding that his older sister and a landlord also did. “Had misbehaved several times on a weekly basis.”
Sorrentino said in his letter that Kelly’s childhood sexual abuse may have contributed to his “hypersexuality,” or difficulty controlling sexual urges, and believes it was a factor in his criminal convictions. .
While Kelly was convicted of sexually abusing a child, Sorrentino denied Kelly a diagnosis of pedophilia because he told her that her “sexual behavior never involved pre-pubertal individuals,” she said. .
Faith, another woman who testified at Kelly’s trial, countered that defense argument in her victim impact statement on Wednesday, saying that her own father was also sexually abused as a child, but “Never molested me.”
support for singer
Letters asking for a shorter sentence for Kelly were written by Kelly’s former assistant Diana Copeland, who testified as a government witness and said she wrote a letter in support of Kelly because it was “the right thing to do.” was.”
“God doesn’t want us to throw humans away,” Copeland wrote. “If we have the audacity to take care of the perpetrators as well as the victims, we can all rise.”
Joycelyn Savage, who was considered Kelly’s victim by prosecutors, also remains a supporter.
“Robert and I are deeply in love and it breaks my heart that the government has created a narrative that I am a victim,” Savage wrote. “I am an older woman, and can speak for myself, so I wanted to give this letter to the court.”
In her letter, Savage revealed that she is now engaged to Kelly.
Prosecutors face threats
Before sentencing, a Chicago man who attended Kelly’s trial in Brooklyn was arrested and charged with making threats against three US attorneys prosecuting Kelly, a copy of his arrest warrant shows .
Christopher Gunn was arrested on Saturday for threatening to kill or seriously injure female prosecutors.
According to the arrest warrant, shortly after Kelly was found guilty, Gunn posted the video to her YouTube channel in October, showing an image of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where the women work. Prosecutors believe the voice describing the video is that of Gunn, and he says, “That’s where they work… we’re going to storm the office,” among three prosecutors. Saying the name of each.
He reportedly said in the video, “If you don’t have the stomach to do sh*t hum, I’m just asking you to bail.”
Prosecutors also analyzed a CashApp account linked to Gunn, which shows multiple transactions from February 26, 2021, to June 1, indicating that Gunn “engaged in the sale of firearm ammunition in connection with the Kelly case”. are,” he said. The transaction involved a $20 payment that read “30 Rounds.. Free Are Kelly”. CNN has reached out to an attorney for Kelly for comment.
Prosecutors believe Gunn was planning to participate in Kelly’s sentencing on Wednesday, when he posted another video saying he had a “for supporters” to meet near the courthouse. place”.
CNN has contacted a lawyer for Gunn, who is expected to have a custodial hearing on Wednesday.
CNN’s Lauren Del Valle contributed to this report.