R. Kelly’s Attorney Seeks 10-Year Prison Sentence or Less Due to Singer Being Sexually Abused as a Child
R. Kelly's legal team is urging a federal judge to only sentence the singer to 10 years or less in prison due to their claim that he was sexually abused as a child.
According to court documents that were obtained by XXL on Wednesday (June 29), R. Kelly's defense attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, asked Judge Ann Donnelly for leniency on Kelly's behalf. The request suggests that the once-revered Chicago musician's traumatic past should be considered before the federal judge hands down Kelly's prison term stemming from his 2021 conviction on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.
The defense's primary argument for a lesser prison sentence is that R. Kelly's "hypersexual behavior" is a direct result of the "Bump & Grind" singer being the victim of repeated sexual abuse and other damaging events that they say happened throughout his childhood.
R. Kelly's defense explained in the sentencing memo that Kelly was the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of multiple people in his formative years, including his sister and a family friend. Kelly's legal representation also cited the fact that Kelly was shot in the arm at the age of 14 as another incident that had a strong negative impact on the songwriter's mental state.
Dr. Renee Sorrentino, a professor at Harvard Medical School, explained in a letter to the federal judge that scientific records show trauma, such as what R. Kelly has suffered, often results in hypersexual activity by the time victims reach adulthood.
"It is my opinion with reasonable medical certainty that Mr. Kelly’s history of childhood sexual abuse is consistent with the definition of mitigating factors as any fact or circumstance that lessen the severity or culpability of the criminal act," wrote Dr. Sorrentino. "Mr. Kelly’s history of childhood sexual abuse represents a hardship or circumstance that was out of his control. This history has been described in scientific literature as contributing to adult hypersexual behaviors."
With the official sentencing expected to be handed down on Wednesday (June 29), The request for leniency follows the prosecuting team's suggestion that the Chocolate Factory artist should be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison. Kelly's defense believes that a 25-year prison term would mean that he would spend the rest of his life behind bars, a sentence that they say is unjustifiable due to the nature of his conviction.
R. Kelly was found guilty on charges of racketeering and eight counts of sex trafficking back in September of 2021, after being arrested in July of 2019. Accusations of recruiting and abusing underage girls and women over the course of nearly 30 years are what ultimately led to Kelly's conviction.
XXL has reached out to R. Kelly's attorney for comment.