In a significant legal development, R. Kelly and Universal Music Group (UMG) have been ordered to pay over $500,000 in music royalties to Brooklyn federal prosecutors.
This contribution is designed to help with restitution for his victims as well as to repay unpaid criminal fines. On August 23, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly signed an order instructing UMG, the imprisoned multiplatinum singer’s long-term music publisher, to make the payment.
R. Kelly had already been ordered by Judge Donnelly to pay approximately $28,000 from his prison prisoner account to cover unpaid fines. The troubled R&B artist is presently serving a 30-year jail sentence in New York for racketeering and sex trafficking convictions in 2021.
As part of his sentencing in 2022, R. Kelly, along with UMG and Sony Music Entertainment, was collectively handed a half-million-dollar bill to be paid to the victims of sexual abuse.
The court believed that both music giants were “in possession of property” belonging to R. Kelly, equivalent to the $504,289 in restitution fees and criminal fines that he still owes.
However, the recent ruling clarifies that Sony Music will no longer be responsible for making payments towards this particular bill. Instead, R. Kelly’s royalties with Universal will be used to cover these financial obligations.
The development comes after a nearly three-decade-long trail of allegations against R. Kelly, culminating in his 2021 convictions. The high-profile trial revealed how he had allegedly used employees and intermediaries to lure fans and aspiring singers into sexually abusive and controlling conditions.
These conditions included claims of victims being locked in rooms without food or access to a bathroom for days.
R. Kelly was also found guilty of coercing minors into sexual activity and producing sex tapes involving a minor.
His legal troubles further escalated when the 2019 Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” aired, featuring detailed accounts from his alleged victims. The series played a pivotal role in turning public opinion against him, despite much of the information having been public for years.
R. Kelly’s large income from touring and recorded songs, which had previously funded his legal defense efforts, had considerably decreased by the time he was imprisoned.
This latest event highlights the once-famous artist’s enduring legal and financial ramifications.
It also serves as a reminder of the #MeToo movement’s ongoing significance and the legal system’s willingness to hold individuals accountable for their conduct.