by G. Brown
R. Kelly is feeling pressure like never before. Experts say all hope to avoid jail pretty much faded away last month when New York and Chicago filed federal charges against the singer.
It’s getting harder to keep count of all the counts against Kelly…21 charges in Illinois, two counts in Minnesota. He now faces 40 counts that Billboard .com says “...carry a combined maximum prison sentence of more than 500 years.”
Experts say Kelly’s only hope now would be to cut a deal, but like every detail surrounding this case, even negotiations will be messy. Kelly is facing charges in four different jurisdictions and it’s doubtful any of the more serious charges will be dropped.
Among the charges, Kelly faces sexual exploitation of children, forced labor and kidnapping, felony counts of prostitution, sexual abuse of underage girls, production of child pornography, transporting women and girls across state lines for the purpose of illegal sexual activity, sex trafficking, and racketeering.
There are accusations that he enslaved women to a sex cult, abused them, lured one teenager to his hotel and paid her $200 to “dance naked with him”,
Kelly repeatedly claimed his innocence in all charges. One of his attorneys even says some of the victims are walking back their stories. Law and Crime.com says attorney Steve Greenberg told them in an exclusive interview that ” some of the women accusing R. Kelly are lying.” Greenberg added, “in many of these cases with many of these allegations, these were people ecstatic to be with R. Kelly.”
Framing some of Kelly’s accusers as starstruck groupies who wanted to be with Kelly is an argument another of the singer’s attorneys made recently in New York. That attorney called some of the accusers, “disgruntled groupies who pined to be with Kelly and fought each other for his attention.” (Billboard.com) Even if attorneys manage to discredit half of Kelly’s accusers, there would still be a mountain of charges for him to dig out of.
Experts say its possible prosecutors could pressure Kelly to plead guilty to one or a couple of the most serious charges. Child porn production as one of the more serious counts carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years in jail, but prosecutors say even pleading out to avoid trial won’t lead to much mercy from the court because of the number of charges stacked against Kelly and the total number of years involved in the alleged crimes. One attorney estimates at best even with a plea deal, Kelly could still face 30-40 years behind bars. He says, “That amount of time, in your 50s, means you’re leaving prison in a box.”
Kelly’s other option is to keep claiming his innocence and put his life in the hands of a jury. But after years of publicity and a highly viewed TV docuseries, finding someone who hasn’t heard of the Kelly case and already been swayed to his guilt or innocence will be nearly impossible.
Deal or no deal, Kelly’s future at this point is nothing to sing about.