Apr 29, 2024 1 min read

R Kelly fails to overturn Chicago conviction

R Kelly has failed in his bid to overturn a 2022 conviction for sexual abuse in the Chicago courts. Lawyers raised various issues with the judgment against the musician, including in relation to the statute of limitations, but an appeals court rejected them all

R Kelly fails to overturn Chicago conviction

The Seventh Circuit Appeals Court in the US last week declined to overturn R Kelly's second conviction for sexual abuse. 

Kelly was seeking to overturn a 2022 ruling in the Chicago courts in which he was found guilty of three charges of enticing minors to engage in criminal sexual activity and three more in relation to his filming of that sexual abuse of children. The conviction resulted in a 20 year prison sentence. 

Lawyers working for the musician argued that an old statute of limitations in Illinois should have been applied in his case, because the incidents took place before the law was changed in 2003. Under the old system, for sex crimes against children, the statute of limitations barred prosecutions after a victim’s 25th birthday. Under the current system the statute of limitations extends throughout the life of the victim.

Appeal judges said last week, “The law does not support Kelly’s position. As a threshold matter, it is not unconstitutional to apply a newer statute of limitations to old conduct when the defendant was subject to prosecution at the time of the change, as Kelly was in 2003”. Which is to say, Kelly's victims were under 25 at the time the law changed, meaning the longer statute of limitations applies in this case. 

Other issues raised by Kelly's representatives in relation to his convictions in Chicago were also rejected. Kelly's attorney Jennifer Bonjean told reporters, “We are disappointed in the ruling, but our fight is far from over”, vowing to take the matter to the US Supreme Court. 

The convictions in Chicago followed the separate criminal case in New York in 2021, where Kelly was found guilty of running a criminal enterprise in order to access and abuse women and teenagers.

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