US superstar singer Robert Sylvester Kelly, who is popularly known as R. Kelly, has been sentenced to 30 years in jail for using his celebrity status to sexually abuse young girls and women.
The 55-year-old R&B singer was in September last year convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking crimes in in New York following decades of allegations dogging his musical career.
But on Wednesday, the judge said that the Heaven I need a Hug singer had an "indifference to human suffering" even as his lawyers vowed to appeal the court decision.
Before Kelly’s sentencing, a number of women confronted him on the stand as they narrated how the “King of R&B” detained and violated them for more than two decades.
The singer, who wore prison uniform and put on dark sunglasses, refused to issue a statement on his own and remained mum as the landmark verdict was issued.
In his ruling, US District Judge Ann Donnelly accused him of using sex as a weapon to force his victims to do shocking acts and in the process infecting them with incurable ailments.
The jurors in the Brooklyn trial were told how Kelly trafficked women across US states with the help of his managers, security guards among other key members of his large entourage.
R. Kelly has been in police custody from the time he was indicted by prosecutors in Chicago and New York in July 2019.
He also faces another case in Chicago in August on child sex images and obstruction charges as well as sexual abuse charges in different courts in Minnesota and Illinois.