R. Kelly: Sentenced in First of Several Sex Trafficking and Abuse Cases as Bill Cosby Celebrates 1 Year of Freedom

R. Kelly has finally been given his judgment day in his first of many cases related to sex crimes. The disgraced R&B singer was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being found guilty of racketeering in his Brooklyn criminal case. Kelly’s legal tried at the last minute for a lighter prison sentence but obviously failed. His sentencing comes amid Bill Cosby celebrating one year of freedom for his own sex crimes after being freed in 2021 on a technicality. Cosby is set to speak for the first time in an interview regarding the ordeal.

Bill Cosby released from prison in 2021; Cosby is celebrating one year of freedom as R. Kelly begins a 20-year prison sentence for sex crimes
Bill Cosby | Michael Abbott/Getty Images

R. Kelly sentenced to three decades in prison

A judge handed Kelly the 30-year prison sentence on Weds. June 29. Ahead of it, prosecutors in the case asked the judge to give Kelly, 55, more than 25 years behind bars for his crimes, taking into account that the allegations date back over 30 years. His defense attorneys asked for 10 or fewer, noting the longer sentence is equivalent to a life sentence.

Survivors of Kelly’s abuse held hands and prayed as US District Court Judge Ann Donnelly began reading his sentence. Kelly reportedly showed little to no emotion, CNN reports. During the trial, more than two dozen witnesses, some survivors, and others direct colleagues of Kelly, took the stand. 

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Judge Donnelly said she considered Kelly’s own traumatic. Kelly has been open about being sexually abused by a family member and a landlord growing up in Chicago, some of which were talked about in detail by his own brother Casey in the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. “It may explain, at least in part, what led to your behavior,” the judge said. “It most surely is not an excuse. 

Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean also spoke. He accepts that he is a flawed individual,” Bonjean added, “but he is not this one-dimensional monster that the government has portrayed and the media has portrayed.” Kelly made his only comment in response to the judge after Bonjean said he wouldn’t speak, telling the judge: “Yes, your honor, that’s my wish.”

Bill Cosby to give interview in celebration of being free from prison after one year

As Kelly begins his lengthy sentence, Cosby is basking in his freedom. He served three out of a 10-year sentence for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. The conviction was overturned after the PA Supreme Court ruled that there was a “vast” violation of the comedian’s due process rights when he was criminally charged and convicted a decade after a previous prosecutor declined to prosecute him in favor of a civil deposition instead. The deposition was ultimately used against him in the conviction. 

On June 29, the same day as Kelly’s sentencing, Cosby posted a photo to Instagram in a yellow outfit. “After two years and 10 months fighting for my life and the truth – one year of freedom home with my family sure looks good on me (At least that’s what my wife says),” he captioned the photo in part. Now, The Jasmine Brand reports that Cosby is ready to talk. 

His publicist Andrew Wyatt announced on Instagram that The Cosby Show star gave an exclusive interview to Philadelphia’s WDAS-FM radio station. He also announced the release of “never-before-seen” footage of Cosby‘s trip home from prison.

What’s next for R. Kelly?

Kelly has a long legal road ahead of him. He faces similar charges and pending trials in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Minnesota. His Illinois trial is set to begin in August in Chicago.