R Kelly‘s ex-wife has spoken of her heartbreak for her children after the disgraced singer was convicted of multiple sex trafficking charges on Monday.
The R&B star, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, was found guilty of all nine counts in a Brooklyn federal court, including racketeering based on sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor, and other charges.
‘I feel that my heart is in two places,’ Drea Kelly told UK-based ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday following the verdict last night.
‘My heart definitely goes out to the survivors and the courage that it takes to to come forward and tell the story, but my heart breaks as a mother because this is now the legacy that my children will have to deal with and their children’s children.
‘At the end of the day, you cannot walk away from your blood line,’ she explained. ‘I have the ability to separate and distance myself from it, but his blood runs through my children’s veins and it’s part of their DNA and they couldn’t escape it even if they wanted to. So it’s very difficult for me to sit in that position.’
The 54-year-old Kelly faces up to 100 years in prison – 20 years for racketeering, 10 for each of the sex trafficking convictions.
Sentencing is expected to take place on May 4, 2022, until which Kelly will remain in custody.
‘I can only speak of my journey as his ex wife and a survivor and an advocate, but I think that goes for any child,’ Drea Kelly told ITV.
R Kelly’s ex-wife has spoken of her heartbreak for her children after the disgraced singer was convicted of multiple sex trafficking charges on Monday
R. Kelly (seen above in a court sketch from Monday while listening to the verdict at Brooklyn federal court), the disgraced R&B singer, was convicted of sex trafficking charges. He faces decades in prison
‘It doesn’t matter if your parents have a problem with drug addiction – you are still going to love them because they are a part of your DNA, you share blood with them.
‘I also support my children in whatever they feel because at the end of the day, whether he ever sold another song, found guilty or not guilty, what is true and what will always be true is that it’s their father, so they have the right to feel whatever they feel,’ she added.
Kelly has remained in custody after being denied bail in his New York City case in October 2019, and after prosecutors accused the R&B singer of exploiting his stardom over a quarter-century to lure women and underage girls for sex.
Drea – full name Andrea Danyell Lee – married R Kelly in 1996 aged 22. Before their marriage, she was a backup dancer for the singer.
The pair share three children together – daughters Joann and Jaah, and son Robert Jr – born in 1998, 2000 and 2002 respectively.
But in September 2005 after almost a decade of marriage, Drea filed a restraining order against Kelly when she first told him she wanted a divorce, and she filed for a divorce in 2006 which was finalized three years later in 2009.
R. Kelly (pictured in 2019) was found guilty of all nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking by a federal jury on Monday during his sex trafficking trial where prosecutors accused the R&B singer of exploiting his stardom over a quarter-century to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex
Kelly’s (pictured in court on September 27 as the jury foreman reads the guilty verdict) guilty verdict follows 21 days of evidence including 50 witnesses and hours of searing testimony featuring accusations of rape, druggings, imprisonment and child pornography
What was R Kelly on trial for in New York?
R Kelly stood trial Brooklyn federal court after he was accused of being the ringleader of a sex ring involving women and underage girls and boys.
The charges were first brought in a five-count superseding indictment in Brooklyn federal court in July 2019.
In March 2020, he was slapped with additional charges upgrading the case to a nine-count indictment.
The charges relate to allegations involving six alleged victims – five women named as Jane Does in the indictment and the singer Aaliyah. These charges are:
ONE COUNT OF RACKETEERING – GUILTY
The racketeering charge includes 14 underlying acts including: one act of bribery, three acts of sexual exploitation of a child, one act of kidnapping, three acts of forced labor and six acts of violating the Mann Act.
Racketeering charges are used where there is an ‘enterprise’, mob or mafia running organized crime operations.
In this case, Kelly is accused of running a racketeering ‘enterprise’ for two decades made up of his ‘inner circle’ of managers, bodyguards and other employees who would help him recruit women, girls and boys for him to sexually exploit and traffic them around the US.
To convict Kelly on the racketeering charge, jurors had to find him guilty of at least two of the 14 acts.
EIGHT COUNTS OF VIOLATING THE MANN ACT – GUILTY
The Mann Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to traffic people across state lines for prostitution or illegal sexual activity.
Four of these charges relate to an incident involving Jane Doe #5 in 2015 while the other four involve Jane Doe #6 in separate incidents in May 2017 and February 2018.
Three of these charges involve Kelly allegedly exposing the two women to herpes without informing them.
‘It’s a life of constant fear and if anyone has done their research and I hope more journalists will, if you decide to interview more victims and survivors, knowing the cycles of abuse, it’s called walking on eggshells, that whats it means,’ she told ITV.
‘That is the term that is used when you never know what you’re going to get. Like I said in the interview before, having the milk too cold and the one time it’s not cold enough.’
In 2018, Drea told The View that her ex-husband had both physically and mentally abused while they were married.
She told the show that at her lowest points, the abuse became so bad that she contemplated suicide, and detailed an incident in which Kelly assaulted her in the back of his Hummer.
In another incident, she said he ‘hogtied’ her in their bed, raped her and then fell asleep without untying her.
As a result of the abuse, she said she suffers from PTSD, and said that her motive of speaking out was to help other victims of domestic violence.
‘I can only talk about my journey and what I went through, what I’ve heard speaks very true to my life – it is parallel to my life and there is no way for anybody else to know it, because I haven’t shared it with anyone unless they’ve been through it themselves,’ she told ITV on Tuesday of her life with Kelly.
‘It’s constant fear, the imitation, never knowing which version of him you’re going to get, it’s very much Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
‘Again, I’m not here to speak to the details of it, I am here to speak to the strength that it took for those people to come forward and tell their stories and stand in their truth knowing that they had the whole world against them because they did the same thing to me,’ she said.
‘My grandmother used to have a saying, “Everybody’s not lying to you, it’s impossible, over twenty to thirty years, thirty different people to all have the same journey and story and to have survived the same thing, it would all be a lie.”‘
A mixture of relief and disbelief greeted the guilty verdict on Monday in the trial of R. Kelly, who becomes the most high-profile musician brought down in the #MeToo era but whose music remains popular on streaming services.
‘Today my voice was heard,’ wrote Jerhonda Pace on Instagram, one of the women who testified at his more than five-week trial.
Heavily pregnant R Kelly accuser Jerhonda Pace broke down in tears in court on August 19 as she read out a passage from her own 2010 journal, detailing how the R&B star allegedly slapped her, spat in her face and choked her
Jurors in R Kelly’s trial heard testimony from the woman who said the R&B star lured her to his mansion when she was a 16-year-old virgin, made her call him ‘daddy’ and choked her until she passed out on day two of his federal sex abuse trial in New York. R Kelly left and Jerhonda Pace right
‘For years, I was trolled for speaking out about the abuse that I suffered at the hands of that predator. People called me a liar and said I had no proof. Some even said I was speaking out for money. Speaking out about abuse is not easy, especially when your abuser is high-profile,’ Pace wrote.
Pace was also one of several women who spoke in detail in a harrowing 2019 Lifetime documentary, ‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ about the mental and sexual abuse they suffered from the singer. The documentary was the catalyst in the opening of an investigation that led to criminal charges against the singer in Chicago and New York.
Dream Hampton, the executive producer of the documentary, said on Twitter on Monday that she was ‘grateful to the survivors. The ones who talked and the ones who didn’t.’
On Tuesday morning, Lisa van Allen, who testified against Kelly in his 2008 child pornography trial – during which he was acquitted – spoke with Good Morning America about Monday’s verdict.
‘It was awesome. I mean, you know, I almost cried’.. The difference this time [when compared to the 2008 trial] is that there is now power in numbers. A lot of people came forward, a lot of women empowerment going on and things like that so I would say that maybe the time wasn’t right back then,’ van Allen stated.
She also claimed it may have taken Kelly so long to receive justice because investigators were less likely to believe women of color.
‘You know, it would always be one here, one there, you know, a little bit of gossip about something else but no one really took it seriously. They didn’t look deep into it or anything like that,’ she told GMA.
Jerhonda Johnson Pace (seen above in Chicago in February 2019), 28, celebrated news of the verdict against R Kelly on Monday. She was one of the singer’s accusers
Tamra Simmons, who produced Surviving R. Kelly – a documentary about the musician’s victims – also appeared on the morning show.
She said she hopes the R&B legend will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
‘I just am so thankful that black women’s voices are now being able to be heard,’ she said.
Meanwhile, Jerhonda Johnson Pace, who accused R Kelly of forcing her to perform oral sex on him when she was just 16 years old, also posted an image to her timeline showing a graphic that read: ‘Today, my voice was heard.’
‘G U I L T Y,’ she wrote in the caption of the post.
‘Today the jury found R. Kelly guilty. For years, I was trolled for speaking out about the abuse that I suffered at the hands of that predator,’ Pace wrote on Monday.
‘People called me a liar and said I had no proof. Some even said I was speaking out for money.
‘Speaking out about abuse is not easy, especially when your abuser is high-profile.
‘However, I DID IT.’
Pace said her coming forward ’caused a domino effect and so many people came forward.’
‘There are still some people that haven’t came forward. I’m so grateful to be a voice for those who didn’t have the courage,’ she wrote.
‘I’m thankful to stand with those who were brave enough to speak up.
‘I’m happy to FINALLY close this chapter of my life. I testified and the jury found him guilty.
‘No matter what you think of me or how you feel about things; today, I MADE HISTORY.
‘I wanna see you be brave.’
Surviving R. Kelly producer Tamra Simmons (center) and , Lisa van Allen, who testified against Kelly in his 2008 child pornography trial (right) spoke with GMA after the verdict
In 2001, the singer Sparkle (seen above in the 2019 Lifetime series Surviving R Kelly), whose real name is Stephanie Edwards, went public with allegations that R Kelly sexually assaulted her niece, who was underage when she was filmed being assaulted and urinated on by the R&B star
Another R Kelly accuser, Kitti Jones, also celebrated a ‘small victory’ on Monday. Jones is the former Dallas radio DJ who gave up her career to be with R Kelly before the pop singer physically and sexually abused her for two years
Pace also posted a photo of Joycelyn Savage, who lived with R Kelly for years as one of his girlfriends and who publicly came out in support of the disgraced singer even as her family pleaded with her to come home.
‘Still hopeful that she will go back home to her family,’ Pace wrote of Savage on Monday.
‘She may not realize it now, but she also survived R. Kelly.’
Another woman who took the stand, identified only as Sonja, shared her delight at Kelly’s conviction with the Daily Beast.
She said she was ‘happy with the verdict and thankful that the jury listened to us.’
‘I’ve been hiding from Robert Kelly in fear, due to threats made against me, and I’m ready to start living my life free from fear, and to start the healing process,’ Sonja said.
The singer Sparkle, whose real name is Stephanie Edwards, knew R Kelly after he produced her first album. In 1997, she introduced her than-12-year-old niece to Kelly in the hope that he would help her aspiring rap career.
But in 2001 she saw the infamous video in which R Kelly is seen having sex with – and also urinating on – her niece. Edwards then called the police.
A year later, she gave a radio interview in which she went public with the allegation. In 2008, she also testified at R Kelly’s trial after he was charged with child pornography. He was eventually acquitted.
In 2019, Edwards was one of the women featured in the Lifetime documentary Surviving R Kelly.
She told The Cut on Monday that she wept after hearing of the verdict. She said her niece’s family has not spoken to her in more than a decade.
Edwards said she now feels vindicated after she was among the first to accuse Kelly of sex crimes at a time when few believed her.
‘At the first trial, nobody believed me,’ she told The Cut.
A supporter of R. Kelly protests outside during a break at the Brooklyn Federal Court House on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in New York
Pictured: A supporter of R Kelly wears a ‘free R Kelly’ mask outside Brooklyn Federal Court House on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in New York
The MuteRKelly campaign, founded by two Black women in 2017 to try to remove the singer’s music from the air waves, said on Twitter that it hoped the verdict ‘brings some sense of justice to the brave survivors who came forward.’
While Kelly’s music has largely disappeared from radio, it is still available on streaming platforms. His hit record ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ was for years a popular choice at graduation ceremonies.
His supporters include a hardcore group of fans, derisively dubbed the ‘peehive’ on social media, who showed their dismay outside the court in Brooklyn and under the Twitter hashtag #FreeRKelly.
Some in Brooklyn cried as the verdict was read and one supporter defiantly played his song ‘Shut Up.’
‘They don’t wanna see a Black man winning,’ wrote a poster on Twitter called Zapac Zhakur under the hashtag #FreeRKelly.
Kelly, now 54, was dropped by his record company RCA in early 2019, shortly after the Lifetime documentary was aired.
After the documentary was broadcast, some of the musicians who had previously collaborated with him, including Lady Gaga, Celine Dion and Chance the Rapper, issued apologies or asked for those recordings to be taken down from streaming services.
But most of his songs and albums are still available for streaming and the RKelly TV YouTube channel has 3.5 million subscribers.
Data from music tracking service MRC showed that streams had remained largely steady between 2017 and 2021, at about 5 million to 6 million a week.
Music publication Billboard reported last month that Kelly, whose last album was released in 2016, was trying to sell the rights to his back catalog but had yet to find a buyer.
Merck Mercuriadis, whose Hipgnosis Songs Fund has recently bought the rights to songs from the likes of Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, said he was not interested.
‘We have no interest in the R Kelly catalog. There is a strong principle here of supporting the feelings and beliefs of our songwriting community – both women and men – that is more important than economic opportunity,’ Mercuriadis said in a statement on Monday.
How R. Kelly was finally brought to justice: One-time R&B superstar used his fame to get away with decades of abuse against young women and men – until harrowing 2019 documentary saw allegations snowball
By Michelle Thompson For Dailymail.Com
Disgraced singer R. Kelly spent decades trying to silence his underage victims with threats and bribery before his downfall began with the 2019 release of an explosive documentary that exposed his predatory behavior.
Lifetime’s ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ – which revisited old claims and introduced new ones – opened up a Pandora’s Box of trouble for the singer, who previously avoided jail time after being acquitted of child pornography charges.
That documentary culminated with charges against Kelly that would finally stick; after years of him using his fame and fortune to silence his victims, he was convicted Monday of nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking.
Soon after the six-part docuseries aired in January 2019, Illinois‘ Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx said her office was contacted by two Chicago families who believed their relatives were being involuntarily held by Kelly.
Disgraced R&B star R. Kelly was convicted Monday of racketeering and sex trafficking
She urged other victims to come forward.
Celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Celine Dion began distancing themselves from the Grammy-winning musician, and hotshot women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred brought victim Faith Rogers in front of the cameras to share her story.
On February 14, 2019, lawyer Michael Avenatti said he handed over a 45-minute video of the star having sex with a minor to Chicago prosecutors.
His ex-wife Andrea Kelly, mother of his three children, appeared in the documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ and said the singer abused her throughout their 13-year marriage
About a week later, on February 22, Kelly was charged by Cook County prosecutors with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse related to four victims as young as 13.
It was the beginning of the end for Kelly, who was soon hit with more sexual assault-related charges in other states after getting away with it for decades.
‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ a six-part mini-series that featured deeply-personal interviews with victims, including his ex-wife Andrea Kelly, who said she was abused throughout their 13-year marriage.
The documentary led a groundswell of public outrage and a criminal investigation in Georgia.
It also led to more victims coming forward, and prosecutors strengthening the case against the singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly.
Jacquelyn Kasulis, the interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York who prosecuted the case, said the verdict ‘forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification’
He married Aaliyah during a secret ceremony when she was just 15. He was then 24
Kelly was sentenced for some of his misdeeds Monday, when a federal jury found him guilty following a six-week trial featuring lurid testimony from 50 witnesses.
Some of his accusers were finally able to testify against him during the trial after their hush-money NDAs, which paid up to $1.5million each in exchange for their silence, was overturned by a Brooklyn judge.
Prosecutors said Kelly suppressed allegations against him for years by pressuring accusers into signing non-disclosure agreements in exchange for cash settlements. The NDA settlements were overseen by Susan E Loggans, a personal-injury attorney.
He kept his victims silent for years by paying them hush money and threatening them
But prosecutors in Kelly’s ongoing trial argued that NDAs should not keep victims from speaking out and referred to four other federal cases, including a ruling against Bill Cosby in 2016 when he sued one of his victims Andrea Constand for speaking with prosecutors.
Until now, justice has been elusive for Kelly’s victims, some of whom were threatened or paid into silence.
He was in 2008 acquitted of 18 child pornography charges stemming from a 27-minute sex tape after the girl refused to testify.
Jurors said they couldn’t be certain the girl was underage.
He was acquitted of child porn charges in 2008 after his victim refused to testify
Kelly has for decades faced a multitude of sexual assault allegations; in 1997 Tiffany Hawkins filed the first of many complaints when she alleged he sexually harassed and sexually battered her while she was a minor.
Hawkins was 15 when she began having sex with then-24-year-old Kelly in 1991, she said in a court document.
The case settled in 1998; Hawkins received a payout of $250,000, a fraction of the $10million she sought in damages, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
It wouldn’t have been the last time Kelly engaged in elicit behavior with a minor.
In 1994, he married Aaliyah – the famed singer who was then just 15 – in a secret ceremony. He was 27 at the time, and the marriage was later annulled due to her age.
Some Twitter users wondered why it took decades to convict the singer of sex crimes
Some are questioning why it took so long for Kelly to answer for his behavior.
‘How many [years] of hell did his victims endure until this?’ journalist Julie Bindel tweeted. ‘ We need to ask why he escaped justice for 25 years.’
Added @ipicnews: ‘Everybody knew the allegations – so why has it taken 30 years to get justice?’
User @ECMcLaughlin credited the damning documentary for the conviction.
‘Dream Hampton’s incredible documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, played a major role in this prosecution,’ she tweeted.
‘He is a monstrous pedophile who preyed on Black girls for decades. Justice is long overdue.’