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 payment is intended to contribute towards restitution for his victims and cover unpaid criminal fines. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly signed the order on August 23, directing UMG, the imprisoned multiplatinum singer’s long-time music publisher, to make the payment.
Previously, Judge Donnelly had ordered R. Kelly to pay nearly $28,000 from his prison inmate account to address outstanding fines. The embattled R&B singer is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for his 2021 convictions on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking in New York.
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.
By the time of his imprisonment, R. Kelly’s substantial income from touring and recorded music, which had previously funded his legal defense efforts, had significantly diminished.
This latest development underscores the ongoing legal repercussions and financial consequences faced by the once-renowned artist.
It also serves as a reminder of the enduring impact of the #MeToo movement and the determination of the justice system to hold individuals accountable for their actions.