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Ground zero: R. Kelly, already serving 30 years for sex trafficking, bags another 20 years in federal child porn case

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Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly was sentenced to 20 years in prison in a Chicago federal courtroom Thursday following his conviction last year on charges of child pornography and enticement of a minor, his second such lengthy sentencing in the past year.

Kelly, 56, is already serving a 30-year prison term for his 2021 conviction on racketeering and sex trafficking charges in a New York federal court.

US District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber said in court Thursday that 19 years of the 20-year prison sentence would be served concurrently, or at the same time as his other sentence. One year would be served consecutively, or after that sentence is complete, he said.

Kelly was convicted in September on three counts of production of child pornography and three counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. A motion for a new trial was denied last week.

Prior to the sentence, attorney Christopher Brown read from a statement given by one of Kelly’s victims, identified as “Jane.”

“I have lost my dignity due to Robert Kelly. I have lost my dreams due to Robert Kelly. I have lost my teenage years to Robert Kelly,” he read.

She wrote that Kelly was “abusive and dominating” and made her suicidal.

“I will forever be the girl that R Kelly peed on,” Jane said through the attorney, referencing the infamous sex tape video shown during his trial which showed Kelly urinating on a victim.

The sentencing hearing is the culmination of nearly three decades of allegations Kelly had sexually abused underage girls, accusations first laid out in the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2002, Kelly was indicted on child pornography charges for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with an unidentified underage girl, but he was acquitted in 2008.

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Through the allegations, Kelly was one of the most successful R&B artists of the 1990s and 2000s, known for hit songs “Bump N’ Grind,” “Ignition (Remix)” and “I Believe I Can Fly,” which won him three Grammy Awards. He has been nominated for 26 Grammy Awards in all, including as recently as 2015.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Kelly faced further allegations of wrongdoing in a 2017 BuzzFeed article and in the January 2019 Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.” A month later, he was indicted in Cook County, Illinois, on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and two federal indictments followed in July 2019.

Prosecutors had asked for 25-year sentence

Prosecutors had asked for a 25-year sentence to be served once his other 30-year prison sentence is complete.

“Robert Kelly is a serial sexual predator who, over the course of many years, specifically targeted young girls and went to great lengths to conceal his abuse of Jane and other minor victims,” prosecutors said in a filing. “To this day, and even following the jury verdict against him, Kelly refuses to accept responsibility for his crimes.”

The defense said in its filing Kelly is already serving a “de facto life sentence” and asked for any sentence be served at the same time as his 30-year sentence in the New York case.

“In the unlikely event that Kelly was to survive his 30-year sentence, there is no reason to believe he would reoffend as a geriatric in his mid-80s,” his attorneys wrote. “The overwhelming majority of Kelly’s criminal conduct was committed a quarter century ago.”

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The advisory sentencing guidelines offer a range of 14 to 17.5 years in prison, according to the prosecution’s calculations, or 11.25 to 14 years in prison, according to the defense’s calculations.

The question of whether the two sentences will be served consecutively or concurrently was up to the court’s discretion.

What happened at the trials

The federal trial in Chicago last September was based on allegations from five minors who prosecutors allege were abused by Kelly in the late 1990s by making explicit videos with four of them.

One of the witnesses in the trial, a 37-year-old woman, spoke in federal court under the pseudonym Jane and testified Kelly began engaging in sex acts with her when she was 14 and had sex with her starting when she was 15. They had sex “hundreds” of times before she turned 18, she said.

She testified that she falsely denied they had a sexual relationship in interviews with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Chicago police investigators and to a grand jury in 2002.

“Why were you untruthful?” a prosecutor asked Jane in court.

“Because I was afraid to expose Robert. Because I was afraid of what might happen to my parents,” she said. “I also did not want that person to be me.”

The jury convicted Kelly of six charges, including three counts of producing videos depicting sexual conduct with Jane and three counts of enticing Jane and two other minors to engage in sexual activity. He was acquitted on seven other counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice. Two associates were acquitted of all charges.

READ  Court finds R. Kelly guilty of child pornography and abuse

At the time of the Chicago federal trial, Kelly had already been convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking in a New York federal trial.

In that case, prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York accused Kelly of using his status as a celebrity and a “network of people at his disposal to target girls, boys and young women for his own sexual gratification.”

The New York trial included testimony from witnesses who said they were sexually and physically abused by Kelly. The court also heard from people involved with orchestrating Kelly’s 1994 marriage to the late singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old and he was an adult after she believed she’d gotten pregnant.

Last month, prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois, dropped state sex-crime charges against Kelly, citing in part his lengthy federal sentence.

“I understand how hard it was for these victims to come forward and tell their stories. I applaud their courage and have the utmost respect for everyone who came forward,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a news release. “While this may not be the result they were expecting, due to the sentences that Mr. Kelly is facing, we do feel that justice has been served.”

CULLED FROM CNN

 

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Academics, professionals, others storm Ibadan for Ayinde Barrister Festival

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The Ilaji Hotel and Resorts, Akanran, Ibadan hosted a community of fans of the late fuji musician, Dr Sikiru Ayinde Balogun, popularly known as Barrister.

 

Between February 9 and 10, 2024, the fans converged on Barrister’s hometown where they celebrated his legacies in a colourful ceremony, featuring live performances by musicians. Jumat service was observed on Day One at the Mufutau Olanihun Mosque. Prayers were offered Barrister who clocked 76 years posthumously on the day.

 

That was followed by the unveiling of Barrister Cenotaph at the entrance of Ibadan on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Two bossom friends of Barrister, Otunba Adisa Osiefa and Chief Kola Oyadeji jointly performed the unveiling ceremony.

 

Gala Night rounded off the day at the Ilaji Hotel and Resorts, Akanran where all fans groups mixed with one another in a convivial atmosphere and danced to different tracks of Barrister.

 

An Ibadan-based famous On Air Personality, Alhaji Gboyega Lawal joined the fans at the Gala Night and paid a glowing tribute to Barrister.

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He recalled an incident at a party where he would have died save for Barrister’s prompt intervention. “For this, I will never forget Alhaji,” he said.

 

The grand finale on Saturday also featured presentation of awards and premier of “Mr Fuji Barry Wonder”, a documentary produced by a US-based Professor Saheed Aderinto who thrilled the large audience with exclusive memorable images of Barrister, his band members, family and fans.

 

The Ibadan-born Aderinto revealed that he had commenced shootings of the documentary in 2021 at different locations in Nigeria and his US base where he is a lecturer.

 

He said the documentary was not made for commercial purpose but posterity to preserve the role Barrister played in carving out an unknown genre among Nigerian indigenous brands of music.
The scholar also said that the documentary was produced with a view to telling critical knowledge that is close to the heart of the people who use the medium of documentary filmmaking.

READ  Court finds R. Kelly guilty of child pornography and abuse

 

“To preserve the legacies of Barrister through the medium of a film. To place Fuji at the center of global knowledge production. To increase the global attention on Fuji. To take the name of Fuji and Barrister into academic domains where they don’t exist for now,” he said.

 

In attendance at the ceremony was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Barrister Mutalubi Adebayo who described Barrister as a superstar both in life and in death.

 

The former Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, who received an award from the organiser of the BarryFest, exclaimed that he had never seen a late Nigerian musician as more blessed with dedicated fans as Barrister.


Vice-Chancellor of Ojaja University, Eyenkorin, Kwara State, Professor Jeleel Ojuade presented a paper which dug deep into Barrister evolution as a force to reckon with in Nigerian indigenous music industry.

 

Chairman and Secretary of the BarryFest Planning Committee, Alhaji Olaide Olawumi and Agba Akin Ademola Adesingbin expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the event, which they both described as an improvement over the maiden edition held at the same venue and Barrister’s Fuji Chamber residence, Isolo, Lagos.

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“All we need to say is to thank God for His grace over the planning committee. We faced few challenges along the line due to the state of the nation’s economy. But God helped us to overcome those challenges.

 

“We thank all our members for their enthusiasm towards the BarryFest. They are all wonderful. We also thank all our invited guests for honouring us with their presence and support. We shall continue to hold them in high esteem,” Adesingbin said.

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Controversial actress Nkechi Blessing gets N6m twin bracelet gift from boyfriend (Video)

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Xxssive, the partner of Nollywood actress Nkechi Blessing, has invested N6 million in a set of matching bracelets for both of them.

 

The actress, originally from Delta State, was pleasantly surprised by the extravagant gift from her boyfriend as she marked her birthday today.

 

In a video shared online, Xxssive was seen presenting the luxurious bracelets to a delighted Nkechi, who couldn’t contain her happiness.

In his accompanying message, Xxssive explained how he didn’t give her any gifts on her birthday last year, citing the Urhobo cultural perspective that doesn’t prioritize extravagant gestures.

 

However, recognizing Nkechi’s worth, he arranged a last-minute birthday dinner to celebrate her.

 

“Like I said last year I didn’t get you any gift because we Urhobo men don’t see it as a big deal and to be honest @nkechiblessingsunday you deserve all the love
So I hit up @royalhugssurprises with very short notice and told her I needed a private dinner and she still delivered her pulling unit

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Then my guy @g.aboki1 wan b cut my neck with the price before but regardless she deserves it all
Had to bring @_mrstats all the way from the States I love you baba mi

 

Thank you so much @okopi_peterson for blessing us with your voice yesterday it means a lot
I will talk about this suit later I dey come suit of over half a million guess the designer”.

 

In an earlier birthday post, Xxssive had affectionately wished her a happy birthday, acknowledging her as the most stubborn person he knows, but emphasizing her amazing qualities nonetheless.

“Happy birthday big 35 Nkechi blessings Sunday.
May the good lord bless your new chapter and grant you your heart desires amen.
The most stubborn person have ever come across in my life, but it doesn’t take away how amazing you are HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND HAPPY VAL”.

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Alleged fake money transfer: Six Lagos traders arraigned for assaulting actress, Liz Anjorin

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Six traders at the Oba Akintoye Market in Lagos Island have been arraigned before the Chief Magistrate Court in Lagos Island Local Government on Thursday for allegedly assaulting and blackmailing Nollywood actress, Lizzy Anjorin-Lawal.

 

The defendants—Qudus Jokogbola, Suru Olawale, Edu Shakirat, Fausat Mohammed, Kafayat Ahmed, and Opere Simiat Morenike—were charged while two other suspects are currently at large.

 

According to the prosecution, led by Sola Samuel, the six defendants and two others conspired to commit the offence by forcefully pushing and dragging Anjorin-Lawal, causing her grievous bodily harm around 1:30 p.m. on Monday inside Oba Akintoye Market in Lagos Island.

 

Samuel told the court that the defendants’ actions caused a breach of public peace.

 

He said the offences contravened Sections 411 and 413; 168(d) and 170(b) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015, and are punishable under the same Act.

 

All defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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Defence lawyer, Ade Oshodi, urged the court to grant them bail in the most liberal terms, stating they were traders.

 

In his ruling, Magistrate A.A. Paul granted each defendant bail in the sum of N200,000 with one surety each.

 

The sureties must be Lagos residents with evidence of tax payment.

 

The defendants were remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services until they meet their bail terms.

The case was adjourned till March 11 for mention.

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