Paris, 2022-07-01 12:08:00. R. Kelly’s sentence: How will it affect other experiences?
R. Kelly may be in his 80s before the singer breaks free again, based on a 30-year prison sentence imposed this week by a federal judge in New York for using his fame to sexually abuse young fans, including some children.
And if the 55-year-old loses three related trials in the coming months, he may be staring at other decades behind bars. One of his attorneys, who did not participate in the New York trial, said that prospect could lead Kelly to pursue a plea bargain.
Here’s a look at the potential impact of Kelly’s lengthy prison sentence in New York on those other cases:
What is the status of the cases?
A federal trial in Chicago is then scheduled to begin on August 15. Chicago is Kelly’s hometown where many of his accusers live, so the interest is expected to be particularly intense. Kelly is facing accusations that he and two defendants reformed his child pornography trial in 2008, when he was acquitted.
The other two cases are a state case: a multi-charge sexual assault case in Cook County, Illinois, where Chicago is, and a petition case in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Both were on alert as the federal cases wind up. No trial dates have been set for either.
What are the chances Kelly is seeking a BLE deal?
Steve Greenberg, a veteran Kelly attorney representing Kelly in the Cook County case, said the chances are greater after the ruling in New York.
“I suspect there have been discussions” between Kelly’s federal trial team attorneys and prosecutors, Greenberg said.
A letter seeking comment from Kelly’s lead attorney in his federal cases, Jennifer Bunjian, was not immediately returned. She previously said Kelly would appeal his conviction in New York.
Greenberg said Kelly will have to balance the prospect of winning the Chicago federal case against agreeing to a deal that includes more prison time.
But Greenberg believes that the cases against Kelly in Cook County and in Minnesota are much weaker and that Kelly can secure acquittal in those state courts.
Will another penalty be added to the New York penalty?
Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago who has nothing to do with Kelly’s cases, said that if Kelly is convicted in US District Court in Chicago, his judge can order that Kelly serve that sentence after his sentence in New York expires.
Turner said he expects prosecutors to request such a back-to-back sentence, but the judge is likely to impose a simultaneous sentence — meaning they will be handed over simultaneously.
Can prosecutors be open to a PLLEA deal?
They could be, if Kelly agreed to take responsibility for the crimes attributed to him.
Kelly’s lawyers will likely not agree to anything that involves the possibility of a 30-year prison sentence extension and will only sign a deal that expects sentences of less than 30 years. They also want assurances that prosecutors will not press for back-to-back sentencing.
Turner said the advantage Kelly has in reaching an agreement that ends the possibility of further trials is that his attorneys will be able to turn their full attention to the New York appeal.
Greenberg said there was reason to believe Kelly could win this appeal. Turner said it was a long shot. But if that sentence is overturned, Turner said Kelly will look to complement what his attorneys hope will be lower sentences in other counties.
Can prosecutors simply decide to drop other cases?
Chances of that seem slim.
Turner said the typical mentality in US attorney general’s offices is to remain firm and aggressive. This attitude was especially evident when it came to Kelly.
“They want this guy so bad,” Turner said.
He added that US attorney general’s offices also had effectively unlimited resources, so the costs and time required for a trial would not deter them.
Turner thought the state’s cases would likely be dropped, especially if Kelly was convicted in federal court in Chicago and received an additional prison term.
“They have more limited resources. They will spend money they don’t have,” he said. “They have murders and serious crimes to be prosecuted. They might ask, ‘Why are you spending (money and time) on Kelly when he’s already facing decades behind bars.'” “
What might lead to decisions being made to move further trials forward?
One factor is the possibility of New York’s convictions being overturned. Kelly could be released immediately if Chicago prosecutors and federal prosecutors choose to drop their cases and the New York convictions are overturned.
Prosecutors in different counties may all see winning convictions and sentences as insurance that Kelly will stay behind bars — even if the appeals court ends up issuing some convictions.
Is there any reason why Kelly would be pleased with the guilt without a deal?
Pleading guilty to the remaining charges does not mean more trials. This would lower Kelly’s legal bills, which he sometimes struggled to pay.
But Kelly will have no guarantees that the plaintiffs will not seek the harshest sentences possible.
He can hope, however, that judges, by pleading guilty and accepting responsibility, will be more inclined to pass judgment on him at the lower end of the guidelines.
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