Judge orders $500K royalties must go to R. Kelly victims

R. Kelly’s royalties of more than $500,000 held by Universal Music Group NV must be turned over to his sexual-abuse victims, a US judge ruled.

US District Judge Ann Donnelly, in Brooklyn, New York, signed an order Wednesday directing Universal Music Group to turn over the money to satisfy unpaid restitution and fines that the singer still owes. Donnelly previously ordered Kelly to surrender almost $28,000 in his prison inmate account and apply it to his unpaid fines.

The judge imposed the fines on Kelly in 2022 when she sentenced the R&B singer to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sexual exploitation of minors.

Kelly was separately convicted in a federal child pornography case in Chicago and sentenced to 20 years, most of which will run concurrently with the Brooklyn sentence.

Kelly is currently in a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina. It’s not clear whether he has a lawyer representing him.

Kelly’s lawyers last year complained that federal prosecutors had taken the “unprecedented” step of seizing the singer’s prison inmate account, arguing they’d failed to prove Kelly had defaulted on paying fines and restitution to his victims. The judge later rejected their argument that prosecutors acted prematurely when they’d frozen all but $500 in Kelly’s prison inmate account.

The case is US v. Kelly, 19-CR-0286, US District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). 

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