It's looking like singer and disgraced lech R. Kelly will spend all, if not most, of his remaining life behind bars. But a new set of convictions out of Chicago for child porn and sexual contact with minors is, surprisingly, only going to add one year to the 30-year sentence he's already serving for sex trafficking and racketeering.
Welcome to criminal justice: Chicago style. Despite the severity of the crimes and how awful they sound, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber went against prosecutor wishes to add as many as 25 more years to R. Kelly's sentence. Instead, Leinenweber added 20 years, but stipulated that 19 of those years can be served concurrently with the racketeering sentence that came out of a previous New York case. That means he'll only serve one additional year and will be required to pay the pocket-change amount of $42,000 to one of the case victims. Prosecutors had been hoping for at least $11 million.
There is a silver lining to this legal shitshow. As The Chicago Sun-Times reports: If the New York case is overturned for any reason, R. Kelly will still have to serve out the 20 years on these new convictions. Kelly, 56, is apparently in rough shape: He's not expected to have a life expectancy beyond eight to 10 more years, the judge said at sentencing.
It's the latest turn in a saga that brought down one of the most popular R&B artists of the 1990s. Starting with a 2002 videotape, jumping ahead to the devastating documentary series Surviving R. Kelly and now with Kelly a convicted, jailed felon, it's one of the ugliest celebrity turns in the history of pop culture.
And many might find it surprising that, given the severity of the charges involving victims who were as young as 12 or 13 when they met Kelly, the crimes didn't warrant a stiffer penalty. Maybe the judge just really, really likes "Ignition."
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