R. Kelly’s legal team asked a federal judge for a short sentence in his Chicago case and claimed they unfairly targeted him.

The convicted star could serve decades behind bars. His team wants the judge to reduce the sentence of his Chicago conviction to 11 years. Also, Jennifer Bonjean asked U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber if Kelly can serve that sentence during his 30-year sentence. Furthermore, the latter stems from a 2021 federal racketeering case in New York.

According to his legal team, the R&B artist’s Chicago case could have rolled into the New York one. Instead, Bonjean alleges her client unjustly faced a “piece-meal prosecution by the federal government.” The request appeared two weeks before the singer’s sentencing date on February 23 on charges of child pornography and criminal sexual activity with a minor in Chicago.

As officials determine whether to add to his 30-year sentence, Kelly, 56, might sit behind bars until at least his late 70s. Moreover, Kelly’s trial in Chicago began right after his New York sentence for exploitation, bribery, racketeering, and sex trafficking.

Kelly’s legal team also argued the precedent set by other high-profile music-related cases. For example, Elvis Presley started dating his wife Priscilla when she was just 14 years old. In addition, Bonjean cited David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis, and several other musicians who received similar accusations with no prosecution.

Top: Jerry Lee Lewis and his 13 year old cousin/wife
Middle: Singer Elvis Presley dating 14 year old Priscilla
Bottom: Filmmaker Woody Allen and his adopted daughter who became his wife

In a 34-page sentencing memo, the lawyer claimed that prosecutors and society took particular aim at Kelly. Moreover, she referenced “a unique, unprecedented contempt for Kelly that is wanting as to his similarly situated white counterparts.”“[Kelly] was a damaged man in his late 20s with an extraordinarily traumatic childhood that he failed to confront,” she stated.

Also, she mentioned his abuse at the hands of a family member and friend, suffering gunshot wounds, and helplessly watching a childhood girlfriend drown.


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