What Does R. Kelly's Guilty Verdict Really Mean For His Future?

After a seven-week trial, R&B singer R. Kelly has been convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking. The guilty verdict was announced in Brooklyn, New York on September 27, three days after the jury started deliberations. Kelly faced one count of racketeering which included kidnapping, bribery, and sex trafficking charges. He was also charged with eight counts of violating the Mann Act. According to Cornell Law, the Mann act criminalizes the transportation of "any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose."

Gloria Allred, a lawyer who represented three of Kelly's victims, released a statement shortly after the guilty verdict was announced. "First, he used the power of his celebrity to recruit vulnerable underage girls for the purpose of sexually abusing them," Allred said, per CNN. "These were not May-October relationships, which is what his defense attorney wanted the jury to believe — these were crimes against children and some adults."

So what does this guilty verdict mean for R. Kelly? We dive deeper into the situation below.

R. Kelly's lawyer has something to say

R. Kelly is facing decades behind bars after his most recent conviction. According to NPR, the singer faces anywhere from 10 years to life in prison. Kelly will be sentenced on May 4; however, his lawyer Deveraux Cannick said they are planning to appeal the conviction. Though Kelly didn't physically react when the verdict was being read, Cannick implied the singer believed he would be acquitted. 

"He was not anticipating this verdict because based on the evidence, why should he anticipate this verdict?" Cannick said, per Revolt. "You saw witness after witness giving three, four, five different versions as to what they said happened here." Cannick also suggested that the prosecution's story was inconsistent and didn't tell the whole story."

"You didn't get to see what we saw in terms of the discovery. You didn't get to see all the inconsistencies," he continued. "We said in our summation that the government cherry-picked their version that they thought would support the continuation of the narrative." Despite Cannick's claims, the jury readily sided with the prosecution as it only took them three days to reach a guilty verdict.

R. Kelly still faces more charges

Though R. Kelly and his team may be stumped by the guilty verdict, much of the public celebrated the news. Shortly after the R&B singer was convicted, #RKelly was trending on Twitter throughout the day, as people took to the social media platform to celebrate the fact that some justice had finally been served for at least some of the survivors in the case.

It wasn't just spectators on Twitter who were pleased with the verdict; some of Kelly's victims spoke out as well. For example, Kitty Jones, a former radio host and DJ who spent two years with R. Kelly, said the verdict provided her with some comfort. "We got justice today," Jones told the Daily Beast. "I wouldn't say I now have closure, because in the end none of us will get our time back. But this is a small victory."

This wasn't the first time Kelly has been charged with crimes of a sexual nature — the singer was acquitted of child pornography charges back in 2008 — and it won't be the last, either. According to the Chicago Tribune, the singer still has charges pending in Chicago, Illinois for more sexual abuse allegations. He is also facing charges for solicitation in Minnesota, where Kelly allegedly solicited prostitution services from a minor, per NBC. While we can't yet say what will come from those cases, it's clear at this point that Kelly's future has been forever changed.

R. Kelly will forever be known as 'a predator'

So what does all this actually mean for celebrated singer and songwriter turned convicted felon R. Kelly? In short: he'll always be remembered as "a predator."

Acting United States attorney for the Eastern district of New York, Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, minced no words as she addressed a crowd of reporters shortly after the guilty verdict was announced for rapper R. Kelly. "Today's guilty 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 gratification," the attorney said, per The New York Times, as she also thanked those who courageously testified against him.

Prior to the allegations and subsequent conviction of sex trafficking, R. Kelly was riding high, enjoying a successful music career and rubbing elbows with some of the industry's best. However, it's now safe to say that his name is synonymous with the way in which he sexually abused and exploited countless women, including some minors. The conviction may also be remembered as a landmark case for social justice, as well. Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx opined that R. Kelly's guilty verdict is a "monumental" win for the Me Too movement. She shared, "It is my hope that through this trial and the toll that it has taken to get to this point, that we recognize that the movement is not at its fullest strength if everyone doesn't have equal access to justice."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).