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Defense Attorney Says R. Kelly ‘Is a Victim’ After Judge Sentences R&B Singer to 30 Years in Federal Prison


Attorney Steve Greenberg, who formerly represented R. Kelly in a Brooklyn criminal prosecution that ended with a decades-long sentence on Wednesday, says he believes the R&B singer is the real victim of the case.

“They preyed on him,” Greenberg told the Law&Crime Network’s Angenette Levy in an interview Wednesday. “They preyed on him, and for them to now come to court and say they are victims is just being intellectually dishonest.”

“So you’re saying R. Kelly’s the victim here?” Levy asked.

“Absolutely,” said Greenberg, who told Levy he still represents Kelly in Illinois state court.

“The 55-year-old multimillionaire is the victim?” Levy asked again.

“Well, he’s not a multimillionaire, but yes, I believe he is a victim of people who wanted the situation, were in this situation,” the defense attorney said. “No one complained about anything. That’s what people forget. No one complained until agents, prosecutors, TV producers went out and found these people. Nobody had complained. They didn’t complain to their friends. They didn’t complain to their family. They didn’t complain to the media.”

Federal jurors did not see Kelly as the victim last year in the Eastern District of New York. They convicted Kelly of using his wealth, fame, and power to engage in prolific sexual abuse. Kelly targeted women, girls, and boys, federal prosecutors said.

The singer was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 years in federal prison; he also has to pay a $100,000 fine.

The Brooklyn jury convicted the now-55-year-old, known to the court system by his legal name Robert Sylvester Kelly, on racketeering, child exploitation, and other charges on Sept. 27, 2021. The jury agreed that Kelly was guilty of every count alleged but found that prosecutors did not prove three specific sub-accusations involving one specific victim.

Greenberg’s characterization of the matter is not unusual for the Illinois-based attorney, who has represented R. Kelly as the singer faced multiple criminal cases in multiple jurisdictions in recent years. Kelly replaced Greenberg ahead of his Brooklyn federal trial.

“Unfortunately, it appears that Mr. Kelly over time has not made the best decisions and I fear he’s doing that now. But it’s not my problem I guess. I wish him the best. I hope he wins this case,” Greenberg told The New York Daily News of the then-upcoming Brooklyn trial in June 2021. “You sort of want to take the high road but they’re just really f—ing him over, these two.”

The Daily News said Greenberg was at the time badmouthing trial attorneys Nicole Becker and Thomas Farinella as people “who lack federal trial experience,” according to that publication’s recap of the conversation.

That sort of jabbing continued through Greenberg’s interview on Wednesday.

“Robert has been plagued by poor choices about people for years,” Greenberg told the Law&Crime Network. “When he went with other counsel for the New York case, I think he made a poor decision because I don’t think the court got the right flavor of the case.”

Adam Klasfeld and Jennifer Tintner contributed to this report.

[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]

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