R&B singer R Kelly faces life behind bars when he is sentenced later today for masterminding an elaborate scheme to entice and sexually exploit young aspiring singers and underage children.
The former 90s superstar was branded a “predator” who used his fame and fortune to “prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification” following his conviction.
He was convicted on multiple counts of racketeering, with the charges relating to bribery and forced labour, by a jury in September last year.
Kelly, 55, was also found in violation of an anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.
The singer, who denied all charges, was found guilty on all nine counts against him following a six-week trial in Brooklyn, New York.
His conviction carries a minimum sentence of 10 years, but he may receive a sentence of up to life imprisonment for his crimes.
Federal prosecutors have asked for a sentence “in excess of 25 years” though the singer’s own lawyers have asked he receive under 10.
However lawyers for Kelly said he deserves no more than 10 years, the mandatory minimum, arguing his history as an abused child may have led to his adult “hypersexuality” and that he no longer poses a risk.
US District Judge Ann Donnelly is scheduled to sentence Kelly at a hearing starting later this afternoon.
Several victims of his abuses are expected to give victim impact statements to the court, and Kelly himself may even make statements, having declined to take the stand during the trial.
A jury convicted the singer after hearing how he trafficked women across different US states over two decades, assisted by his entourage of staff.
Victims testified that Kelly subjected them to threats and punishments if they disobeyed his orders.
The court also heard how Kelly had illegally obtained paperwork to marry singer Aaliyah when she was 15 in 1994, with the marriage certificate falsely listing her age as 18.
He was 27 at the time. The marriage was later annulled.
Aaliyah worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number,” and died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.
The singer has yet to face federal child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago, where a trial is scheduled to begin August 15.
He also faces state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
The singer, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been detained at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn since the verdict.