Why did R Kelly get a longer sentence than Ghislaine Maxwell? A legal expert explains

A US trial heard that Kelly was a ‘prolific serial predator’ who preyed ‘on the young and vulnerable’

R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison
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Disgraced R&B singer R Kelly was sentenced to thirty years in prison on Wednesday following his conviction for sex trafficking and racketeering.

In response to this news, many compared his sentencing to that of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, who received twenty years in jail for her sex trafficking conviction.

One Twitter user wrote: “Can someone please explain to me how R Kelly received a prison sentence 10 years longer than Ghislaine Maxwell?”

R Kelly was first tried for making child pornography in 2008

Some social media users also spectulated whether race was a factor in the sentencing, with one person writing: “R Kelly (a black man) was sentenced 30 years in prison.

“Ghislaine Maxwell (a white woman) was sentenced 20 years.”

However, former assistant United States attorney Neama Rahmani explained that the disparity between the sentences was due to a host of other factors.

“Many people believe that R Kelly received a longer sentence because he is a black man and Maxwell is white woman,” he said.

Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years years in prison for luring young girls to massage rooms to be molested by Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell’s crimes took place over a decade, between 1994 and 2004

“That’s an oversimplification that misses key differences between the cases.”

One of the main differences, Mr Rahmani said, was that R Kelly’s judge Ann Donnelly is known to be tougher than Maxwell’s judge.

“Ann Donnelly was a prosecutor for years before she was appointed to the bench,” he wrote on Twitter.

“She’s known as a tougher sentencer than Maxwell’s judge, Alison Nathan, who is a former law professor.”

R Kelly remained silent in court as his victims read out impact statements

Mr Rahmani added: “During sentencing, R Kelly accepted zero remorse toward the eleven victims or any acceptance of responsibility for his crimes.

“Although Maxwell’s apology was less than sincere and she tried to shift the blame to Epstein, Maxwell at least apologised for her role.

“R Kelly’s pattern of racketeering activity was also worse. He and his co-conspirators were part of a criminal enterprise that threatened and bribed witnesses to prevent them from cooperating with law enforcement and prosecutors,” he said in a penultimate tweet, before concluding: “So even though their sex trafficking conduct is comparable, these additional factors put R Kelly in a worse position than Maxwell at sentencing.”

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