A federal judge has ordered R. Kelly and Universal Music Group to shell out more than $500,000 in fines and restitution to his victims
It’s been nearly two years, at this point, since a federal jury handed down nine convictions against musician R. Kelly, sentencing him to 30 years in prison on one count or racketeering, and multiple violations of the Mann Act. (Including three counts of coercion and enticement, and one count of transportation of a minor; he’d pick up another year on his sentence earlier this year, after being found guilty on several charges of creating child pornography.) In addition to jail time, Kelly was hit, at the time of his first conviction, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution, which his attorneys claimed he had no way of paying.
U.S. District Judge has decided to go after Kelly’s income more directly, issuing an order today stating that Kelly and Universal Music Group, his long-time publisher, will have to pay roughly $500,000 to cover what he owes. This comes after U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly had previously ordered Kelly to pay $28,000 from his personal prison account.
Why is UMG being forced to help foot the bill? Well, at the time of the 2022 conviction, both the Universal company, and Sony, were believed by the government to be “in possession of property” that belonged to Kelly. Which is to say, presumably, royalty payments, which both publishers were apparently withholding while seeing how the whole thing would shake out. (The ruling is, in an odd way, rather good news for Sony Music, since, per Variety, Universal’s share of the royalties will apparently cover the bill, which amounts to a total of $504,289.) Kelly’s attorney at the time asserted that he was “close to indigent” as his touring and performing money dried up aggressively under an increased level of scrutiny as the allegations against him came to light; prosecutors claimed he had access to millions from things like sales of at least some of his royalty rights.