AceShowbiz - One of R. Kelly's victims says she hoped he would get more than 30 years in jail. Lizzette Martinez offered her reaction after the '90s R'n'B superstar was sentenced at the U.S. District Court in New York at around 3.30 P.M. local time on Wednesday, June 29 for masterminding a scheme to entice and sexually exploit young aspiring singers and underage children.
"I personally don't think it's enough, but I'm pleased with it," Ms. Martinez, who gave a victim impact statement ahead of the 30-year-prison term being handed down, said afterwards. She also admitted to reporters she never imagined she would see Kelly brought to justice.
Ms. Martinez was an aspiring singer when she met the singer and was later featured in the "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary. She said he agreed to mentor her as a singer, but their relationship became abusive around two months after they began meeting.
On Wednesday, Ms. Martinez told the court, "I was left in shock, confused and in tears." She also detailed how she struggles with mental health issues stemming from her abuse at the singer's hands and said he "destroyed so many people's lives." R. Kelly did not look at her during her statement.
Ms. Martinez was one of several people to speak out against the singer following his sentencing. Steve Francis, acting executive associate director for Homeland Security Investigations, branded Kelly a "prolific serial predator, who utilized his status as a Grammy Award-winning household name with global recognition to inflict pain and anguish on so many victims."
"Today's sentencing sends a message that no amount of money or fame is enough to evade justice," he added. "Money, power and fame will not buy you immunity."
After Kelly was sentenced for racketeering and sex trafficking, Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said, "R. Kelly is a predator. He continued committing his crimes for almost 30 years and avoided punishment - until today."
"These are the voices of mostly Black and brown women and children who were heard and believed. Justice was finally achieved," he added. "This is a victory for them, for justice, and victims of sexual assault. Victims must be heard, perpetrators must be held accountable, and women and children must be protected."
Kelly's attorney Jennifer Bonjean says she plans to appeal his 30-year prison sentence, which came after the singer, who is born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was convicted in 2021 by a jury on multiple counts of racketeering, relating to bribery and forced labour. The musician was also found to have violated anti-sex trafficking law, the Mann Act.