R. Kelly and Universal Music Must Pay Over Half-Million Dollars in Music Royalties to Victims, Judge Rules

R. Kelly and Universal Music Group will have to pay over $500,000 in music royalties to Brooklyn federal prosecutors to help pay for his victim’s restitution and criminal fines. The company is the imprisoned multiplatinum singer’s longtime music publisher.

On Aug. 23, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly signed an order directing Universal Music Group to turn over the payment to cover the fines R. Kelly still owes, per Bloomberg Law. Donnelly had previously ordered Kelly to pay just shy of $28,000 in his prison inmate account to cover his unpaid fines.

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R. Kelly is serving 30 years in prison for his 2021 racketeering and sex trafficking convictions in New York. As part of his sentencing in 2022, the disgraced R&B singer, UMG and Sony Music Entertainment were handed the half-million dollar bill to be paid to sexual abuse victims. That file cited both UMG and Sony were believed to be “in possession of property” belonging to Kelly that amounted to the $504,289 bill that he currently owes in restitution fees and criminal fines. This latest ruling, however, states Sony Music will no longer have to offer payments for this particular bill since R. Kelly’s royalties with Universal will cover it.

A representative for Universal Music Group’s publishing division declined Variety‘s request for comment.

The 56-year-old singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was found guilty on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering in September 2021 after a six-week trial revealed how he had used employees and intermediaries to lure fans and hopeful singers into sexually abusive and controlling conditions, including locking them in rooms without food or access to a bathroom for days. He was also found guilty on three counts of coercing minors into sexual activity and three of producing sex tapes involving a minor.

This news is the culmination of nearly three decades of allegations against Kelly. His career — and his alleged abuse — continued until allegations began arising again in the early 2010s and finally “Surviving R. Kelly,” a 2019 Lifetime docuseries featuring vivid accounts from his alleged victims, turned public opinion dramatically against him, even though it largely repeated information that had been public for many years. By the time he was jailed, his substantial touring and recorded music income — which had funded the lawyers and other efforts to keep the allegations against him at bay — had largely dried up.

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