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Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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R. Kelly’s Defence Comes Crashing Down As Lengthy Court Case Comes To A Close

The singer, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, was found guilty on Monday on all nine of the charges he was facing, which include eight counts of sex trafficking and one act of racketeering.

The verdict brings to a close several years of questionable (and widely accepted to be illegal) behaviour from R. Kelly. After forging documents to marry singer ‘Aaliyah’  whilst she was fifteen years old in 1994, Kelly was also acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008. Many people will be asking why it has taken such a long time for R. Kelly to be held accountable, especially when many of the allegations were widely published in the documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly‘ released in 2019.

The reality is that since Kelly’s initial charges in early 2019, his case has been plagued by incidents that have caused his court trial to be postponed, along with the usual bureaucracy of the judicial system. In March 2020 the trial was delayed when the prosecution unearthed over 100 electronic devices that they had to trawl through to use in their case. A few months later in August 2020 some of Kelly’s associates were accused of witness tampering when they tried to bribe or assault victims in the case. This was followed in the same month by an assault on Kelly whilst he slept in prison. More recently in June of this year Kelly’s legal team quit ahead of the trial that started on August 18th. 

All the while, the US prosecution has been building its case, and apparently did so sufficiently as it took the 12 person jury just 9 hours to reach their guilty verdict.

Despite the length of time it took to reach the verdict, justice has been served. As the prosecutor Jacquelyn Kasulis said after the trial had come to a close, “No matter how long it takes, the long arm of the law will catch up with you”.  

In spite of the controversy surrounding R. Kelly over the past years, his popularity has not waned. He currently has just over 4.9 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and his biggest song ‘Ignition – Remix’ has over 500 million streams (up over 100 million streams in the past two years since Kelly was arrested). Groups of Kelly’s fans were lined outside the courthouse on Monday where his trial was held, and some have rallied behind him virtually starting the hashtag ‘#FreeRKelly’.

For R. Kelly’s victims hopefully the guilty verdict can bring them some closure and allow them to move on with their lives. The same can’t be said for Kelly however, who still faces a separate trial in Chicago for ‘child sex images’ charges, and furthermore separate charges in Illinois and Minnesota for alleged sexual abuse.

Kelly will have to wait until his sentencing on 4th May next year to find out just how much time he will have to serve in jail. Given the singer’s age (54) and the likely severity of his term, it’s safely assumed that he will likely not be a free man again for the rest of his life.

Words by Lawrence Jones

Posted On 3 October, 2022