R. Kelly’s Lawyers Claim He’s Unfairly Targeted, Cite Elvis Presley Dating 14-Year-Old Wife

The disgraced singer’s legal team also brought up David Bowie in their argument and asked for a sentence of 11 years in his Chicago case.

BYGabriel Bras Nevares
R. Kelly’s Lawyers Claim He’s Unfairly Targeted, Cite Elvis Presley Dating 14-Year-Old Wife

R. Kelly's legal team asked a federal judge for a short sentence in his Chicago case and claimed they unfairly targeted him on Friday (February 10). Moreover, the twice-convicted star already could serve decades behind bars. As such, his team wants to reduce the sentence of his Chicago conviction to 11 years. Also, Jennifer Bonjean asked U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber if Kelly can serve that sentence during his 30-year sentence. Furthermore, the latter stems from a 2021 federal racketeering case in New York.

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 17: Singer R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Kelly is facing multiple sexual assault charges and is being held without bail. (Photo by Antonio Perez - Pool via Getty Images)

According to his legal team, the R&B artist's Chicago case could've rolled into the New York one. Instead, Bonjean alleges her client unjustly faced a "piece-meal prosecution by the federal government." Said request appeared two weeks before the singer's sentencing date on February 23 on charges on child pornography and criminal sexual activity with a minor in Chicago. As officials determine whether to add to his 30-year sentence, Kelly, 56, might sit behind bars until at least his late 70s. Moreover, Kelly's trial in Chicago began right after his New York sentence for exploitation, bribery, racketeering, and sex trafficking.

Another argument Kelly's legal team presented is the precedent set by other high-profile music-related cases. For example, Elvis Presley started dating his wife Priscilla when she was just 14 years old. In addition, Bonjean cited David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis, and several other musicians who received similar accusations with no prosecution. In a 34-page sentencing memo, the lawyer claimed that prosecutors and society took particular aim at Kelly. Moreover, she referenced "a unique, unprecedented contempt for Kelly that is wanting as to his similarly situated white counterparts."

Meanwhile, Bonjean also referred to the singer's lifelong struggles. "[Kelly] was a damaged man in his late 20s with an extraordinarily traumatic childhood that he failed to confront," she stated. Also, she mentioned his abuse at the hands of a family member and friend, suffering gunshot wounds, and helplessly watching a childhood girlfriend drown. Regardless, let us know what you think of these developments in the comments down below. Also, as always, stay logged into HNHH for the latest updates on the R. Kelly story.


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About The Author
Gabriel Bras Nevares is a music and pop culture news writer for HotNewHipHop. He started in 2022 as a weekend writer and, since joining the team full-time, has developed a strong knowledge in hip-hop news and releases. Whether it’s regular coverage or occasional interviews and album reviews, he continues to search for the most relevant news for his audience and find the best new releases in the genre. What excites him the most is finding pop culture stories of interest, as well as a deeper passion for the art form of hip-hop and its contemporary output. Specifically, Gabriel enjoys the fringes of rap music: the experimental, boundary-pushing, and raw alternatives to the mainstream sound. As a proud native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he also stays up-to-date with the archipelago’s local scene and its biggest musical exponents in reggaetón, salsa, indie, and beyond. Before working at HotNewHipHop, Gabriel produced multiple short documentaries, artist interviews, venue spotlights, and audio podcasts on a variety of genres and musical figures. Hardcore punk and Go-go music defined much of his coverage during his time at the George Washington University in D.C. His favorite hip-hop artists working today are Tyler, The Creator, Boldy James, JPEGMAFIA, and Earl Sweatshirt.