R. Kelly, along with Universal Music Group, is obligated to disburse over $500,000 in music royalties to Brooklyn federal prosecutors to contribute to restitution for his victims and settle outstanding criminal fines. Universal Music Group, the imprisoned multiplatinum singer’s enduring music publisher, has been directed by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, through an order signed on August 23, to transfer the specified amount to address the remaining fines owed by R. Kelly. Previously, Donnelly had instructed Kelly to allocate nearly $28,000 from his prison inmate account to address outstanding fines.
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Incarcerated for 30 years due to his 2021 convictions for racketeering and sex trafficking in New York, R. Kelly, along with UMG and Sony Music Entertainment, was assigned a $500,000 payment as part of his 2022 sentencing. This amount was designated for the benefit of sexual abuse victims. The legal documentation implicated both UMG and Sony Music in the possession of assets belonging to Kelly, equating to the outstanding $504,289 in restitution fees and criminal fines. The recent ruling clarifies that Sony Music is exempt from contributing to this specific payment, as R. Kelly’s royalties from Universal will suffice to cover the required sum.
Variety’s request for comment on the matter was met with a refusal from a spokesperson representing Universal Music Group’s publishing division.
The 56-year-old artist, known by his full name Robert Sylvester Kelly, was convicted in September 2021 on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering. The six-week trial exposed how Kelly utilized employees and intermediaries to entice fans and aspiring singers into sexually abusive and controlling situations, including confinement without food or bathroom access for extended periods. He also faced convictions on three counts of coercing minors into sexual activities and three counts of producing sex tapes involving a minor.
This development marks the culmination of nearly three decades of allegations against Kelly. His career, shadowed by allegations of abuse, persisted until renewed accusations surfaced in the early 2010s. The turning point came with the 2019 Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which featured vivid accounts from his alleged victims. This series played a pivotal role in swaying public opinion against him, despite much of the information being public for years. By the time of his imprisonment, the substantial income from touring and recorded music, which had been funding legal defenses against the allegations, had significantly diminished.