R. Kelly timeline: Shining star to convicted sex offender
R&B superstar R. Kelly’s musical accomplishments have long been shadowed by allegations that he sexually abused women and children. On Thursday, the singer was sentenced in his hometown of Chicago to 20 years in prison for child pornography and enticement of minors for sex. He will serve all but one of those simultaneously with a separate 30-year sentence on racketeering and sex trafficking convictions in New York.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has vehemently denied the allegations, but his accusers testified that he subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.
A timeline of Kelly’s life through his rise and fall as an R&B artist:
— 1990: R. Kelly’s R&B group MGM wins the $100,000 grand prize on the syndicated television talent show “Big Break,” hosted by Natalie Cole. Because of money disagreements, that is the last time the group performs together.
— January 1992: R. Kelly & Public Announcement debut “Born Into The ’90s.” Released a year later, the album goes platinum.
— November 1993: R. Kelly’s album “12 Play” is released and sells more than 5 million copies. Hit singles include “Sex Me” and “Bump N’ Grind,” which becomes the longest-running No. 1 R&B song in more than 30 years.
— Aug. 31, 1994: At age 27, R. Kelly marries 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah D. Haughton in a secret ceremony arranged by Kelly at a Chicago hotel. The marriage is annulled months later because of Aaliyah’s age. (Aaliyah died in a plane crash seven years later, at age 22.)
— November 1996: R. Kelly releases his third album, “R. Kelly.” A month later, he incorporates Rockland Records. His song “I Believe I Can Fly,” from the “Space Jam” soundtrack, peaks at No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart. The same year, he marries 22-year-old Andrea Lee, a dancer from his touring troupe. The couple have three children: Joanne, Jaya and Robert Jr.
— February 1998: Kelly wins three Grammys for “I Believe I Can Fly.”
— August 2001: Tracy Sampson files a lawsuit against Kelly, alleging their sex was illegal under Illinois law because he was in “a position of authority” over her. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
— Feb. 8, 2002: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that it received a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a girl who is a minor. The paper reports that Chicago police began investigating allegations about Kelly and the same girl three years earlier. At the time, the girl and her parents deny she was having sex with Kelly.
The day the news breaks, Kelly performs at the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
— June 5, 2002: Kelly is indicted in Chicago on child pornography charges related to the sex tape. He pleads not guilty and is released on $750,000 bail.
— May 9, 2008: Kelly’s child pornography trial begins.
— June 13, 2008: Kelly is acquitted on all counts after less than a day of deliberations.
— June 27, 2012: Kelly publishes his autobiography, “Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me,” focusing on his creative and family life rather than his legal troubles.
— Sept. 29, 2012: Kelly is nominated for two Soul Train Awards, making him the most nominated act ever at the awards show.
— July 17, 2017: BuzzFeed reports on parents’ claims that Kelly brainwashed their daughters and was keeping them in an abusive “cult.” One woman says she was with Kelly willingly. Activists launch the #MuteRKelly movement, calling for boycotts of his music.
— May 2018: Spotify cuts R. Kelly’s music from its playlists, citing its policy on hateful conduct. Shortly after, Apple and Pandora also stop promoting his music. Kelly’s team pushes back, noting other artists on Spotify have been accused or convicted of crimes.
— Jan. 3, 2019: Lifetime airs the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which revisits old allegations and brings new ones into the spotlight. The BBC’s “R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes,” released the previous year, alleges the singer held women against their will.
— Jan. 21, 2019: Multiple news outlets report that Kelly and his label, Sony subsidiary RCA Records, part ways. Kelly continues to deny all abuse allegations.
— Feb. 22, 2019: Kelly is arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse.
— Feb. 25, 2019: Kelly’s attorney enters not guilty pleas on the singer’s behalf. Hours later, Kelly posts bail and is released from jail in Chicago.
— March 6, 2019: CBS airs an interview in which Kelly vehemently denies the sexual abuse charges. Cook County authorities take Kelly into custody after he tells a judge he can’t pay $161,000 in child support.
— May 30, 2019: Kelly is charged with 11 new sex-related counts in Chicago. They involve one of the women who accuses him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.
— July 11, 2019: Kelly is indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago on charges including child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice. A separate indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York includes charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child. He is again arrested in Chicago.
— July 16, 2019: A federal judge orders Kelly held without bond after a prosecutor warns he poses an extreme danger to young girls.
— Aug. 5, 2019: Kelly is charged in Minnesota with prostitution and solicitation related to an allegation that he invited a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room in 2001 and paid her $200 to dance naked with him.
— March 5, 2020: Kelly pleads not guilty in Chicago to an updated federal indictment that includes child pornography charges and allegations involving a new accuser.
— Aug. 12, 2020: Federal prosecutors announce charges against three men accused of threatening and intimidating women who have accused Kelly of abuse, including one man suspected of setting fire to a vehicle in Florida.
— Aug. 18, 2021: Opening statements begin in Kelly’s federal trial in New York.
— Sept. 27, 2021: A jury finds Kelly guilty of sex trafficking and violating the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to take anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
— June 29, 2022: Kelly is sentenced to 30 years in prison in New York.
— Aug. 15, 2022: Jury selection starts for Kelly in federal court in Chicago on child pornography, enticement and obstruction of justice charges.
— Sept. 14, 2022: A federal jury convicts Kelly of three child pornography counts and three counts of child enticement. But the jury acquits him on a fourth pornography count, a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge related to his 2008 trial, three counts of conspiring to receive child pornography and two more enticement charges. His two co-defendants, business associates Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, were found not guilty of charges against them.
— Feb. 23, 2023: Kelly is sentenced to 20 years in prison for child pornography and enticement of minors for sex but will serve all but one of those simultaneously with a separate 30-year sentence on racketeering and sex trafficking convictions in New York.
Find more of AP’s coverage of R. Kelly’s trials at https://apnews.com/hub/r-kelly
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