After R. Kelly was convicted on racketeering and sex trafficking charges, will the disgraced R&B star spend the rest of his life behind bars? One legal analyst believes so.
Kelly on Monday was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking after years of being accused of sexually abusing underage girls. He'll be sentenced in May, and he could receive between 10 years and life in prison. He's also still facing other charges, including multiple counts of sexual abuse in Chicago and prostitution and solicitation charges in Minnesota.
Given this, ABC Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams predicted Tuesday on Good Morning America that Kelly will spend the rest of his life in prison, both as a result of his Monday conviction and because of the additional charges. "Regardless of what this sentence is, I don't expect him to ever walk free again," Abrams said. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.
Multiple alleged victims of Kelly celebrated Monday's verdict, with Jerhonda Pace, who testified during the trial, writing, "I'm so grateful to be a voice for those who didn't have the courage. I'm thankful to stand with those who were brave enough to speak up." Another accuser, Kitti Jones, told The Daily Beast that "we got justice," while still calling this a "small victory" because "in the end none of us will get our time back."
Accuser Lisa Van Allen also told Good Morning America she "almost cried" after hearing the verdict, adding that this was "what I was looking for back in 2008," when Kelly was acquitted on child pornography charges. Van Allen testified during that previous trial, but she suggested Kelly was found guilty this time because more accusers came forward and "there's power in numbers." Tamra Simmons, executive producer of the documentary Surviving R. Kelly, also told GMA, "I am so thankful that Black women's voices are now being able to be heard."