CHICAGO - Once a three-time Grammy winner, R. Kelly is now a convicted felon. The Chicago R&B singer was found guilty on all counts by a New York jury Monday and could spend decades behind bars.
"Of all the predators that I have pursued, Mr. Kelly is the worst," said Gloria Allred, an attorney for R. Kelly’s survivors.
The 54-year-old now faces up to 20 years in prison after the jury found him guilty on all 9 counts in federal court, including sex trafficking and racketeering — or building an enterprise to prey on women and minors.
"In rendering its verdict today, the jury delivered a powerful message to men like R. Kelly, no matter how long it takes, the long arm of the law will catch up with you," said Jacqueline Kasulis, the acting U.S. Attorney for New York.
The trial was heavily based on victim’s statements — six of them claiming that Robert Sylvester Kelly had sexually abused and assaulted them when they were underage, using his fame to keep them quiet.
"Of course Mr. Kelly is disappointed. He was not anticipating this verdict," said Deveraux Cannick, the attorney for R. Kelly. "When you go to the discovery, you saw witness after witness giving three, four, five different versions as to what they said happened here."
R. Kelly is also facing federal charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice in Illinois. A Chicago attorney says then New York conviction is not good for their case and for the potential jury pool.
"You'd much rather have them talking about the fact he was found not guilty, and causing, you know, there to be some suspicion about the allegations and the credibility of the witness. So clearly it’s not a good start," said Michael Leonard, who represents R. Kelly in Illinois.
Leonard says the Illinois judge could push the trial until after the New York sentencing, but it’s highly unlikely. There are two other defendants in the case, including the singer’s ex-business manager.
Leonard thinks the trial will most likely begin early next year.