R. Kelly, a Grammy-winning R&B singer, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after being found guilty of federal charges, including racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, and bribery. Anyone with a brain can see Kelly failed to prepare for his sentencing hearing properly.

Why?

Like many defendants, R. Kelly let his lawyers do the talking.

Specifically, his lawyers said Kelly “experienced a traumatic childhood involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence.” Who is better equipped to share this message? Kelly, of course. Yet, due to the appeal, Kelly did not address Judge Donnelly because he felt it could impact his appeal and other cases.

On what earth does sharing details about a defendant’s life and background–including trauma–jeopardize an appeal?

By saying nothing, he was not in a position to influence the outcome. Instead, he relied on his high-priced lawyers to do all the work. It’s part of the reason Judge Connelly handed down such a harsher sentence.

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Justin Paperny