Artist News Legal

R Kelly prosecutors hit back at proposed postponement of sentencing pending separate Chicago trial

By | Published on Tuesday 5 April 2022

R Kelly

Prosecutors have hit out at a request by R Kelly to push back the sentencing relating to his conviction in the New York courts last year so that it takes place after his separate trial before the courts in Illinois.

At the trial in New York last September, Kelly was found guilty of building and running a criminal enterprise that allowed him to prolifically groom and abuse young people, often teenagers. He was convicted of all the charges against him and faces ten years to life in prison.

However, Kelly faces charges relating to allegations of sexual abuse in multiple states, and the criminal case against him in his home city of Chicago, Illinois is due to reach court in August. Meanwhile sentencing relating to the New York conviction is due to take place on 4 May.

The musician’s new lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, has raised concerns about the New York sentencing taking place before the Chicago trial, arguing that her client has the right to make statements in a bid to mitigate his sentence in the former case without fearing that anything he says might be used against him in the latter.

But, according to Rolling Stone, prosecutors have urged the court to knock back a request to delay the sentencing to overcome those concerns, arguing that any mitigation report produced as part of the sentencing proceedings could be kept confidential until after the Chicago trial is completed.

“As proven at trial, the defendant engaged in wide-ranging and extensive criminal conduct, involving multiple victims, with impunity for decades”, Assistant US Attorneys Elizabeth A Geddes, Nadia I Shihata and Maria Cruz Melendez wrote in a letter to the court.

“His victims have waited years to see the defendant held to account and sentenced for his crimes”, they added. “Moreover, in reliance on the date set by the court in September 2021, many victims have cleared their schedules to travel from other states to New York to attend and be heard at the 4 May sentencing hearing”.

They then argued that, given Kelly has denied every allegation made against him throughout the criminal proceedings, it seems unlikely he will now make statements to a mitigation expert in the preparation of any mitigation report that could impact on the Chicago case. However, any “speculative concern” can nevertheless be addressed by keeping that report confidential.

They concluded: “The undersigned Assistant US Attorneys, who constitute a separate prosecution team from those prosecuting the [Illinois] case, will not share any such mitigation report with anyone involved in the [Illinois] prosecution and, to the extent there is any concern in this regard, would welcome a court order further prohibiting any such disclosure. Such a procedure would entirely eliminate any risk that the defendant’s ‘words might be used against him in some manner'”.

We now await a decision from the judge regarding the 4 May hearing.