Kelly faces decades behind bars after being convicted in New York at a trial that saw his victims tell of the treatment they suffered at the singer’s hands.
Congressman Danny Davis, who represents a large portion of Kelly’s hometown, initially said in the video published by TMZ that he believed that Kelly would “be welcomed back into Chicago as a person who can be redeemed.
“You know I’m a big believer in what is called second chances ... so it all will really depend upon him,” he told the outlet.
Mr Davis, who has held the seat since 1996, was blasted over the statement by his Democratic primary challenger, Kina Collins.
“Congressman Davis’ statement today was thoughtless, distasteful, and incredibly disappointing for a man charged with representing thousands of Black women and girls in our district,” said Ms Collins said in a statement.
“I’m shocked that my Congressman would choose today of all days to focus on second chances for a serial abuser rather than uplifting survivors.
“Second chances for those reentering communities from prison are critical. But by holding R Kelly – a man who leveraged his wealth and power to evade justice and harm Black girls – as an example of what second chances look like, Davis is undermining the broader fight for justice.”
Mr Davis, 80, attempted to clarify his comments on Kelly in a statement.
“Kelly has been accused of criminal acts, gone through a court of law, been convicted, and must serve whatever time the court decides,” Mr Davis said in the statement.
“Yes, he has lived in Chicago, I am a law and order policymaker; therefore, I am focused on trying to arrest the coronavirus, raising the debt limit, passing a budget, maintaining and rebuilding our infrastructure, feeding the hungry, meeting the health needs, taking care of children, and improving the quality of life for all.
“Women and children must be respected and protected at all times and at all costs.”
Kelly will be sentenced in Brooklyn, New York on 4 May.
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