R. Kelly is currently serving time for various charges of sexual misconduct. As part of his sentence, Kelly and his labels Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment were ordered to pay roughly half a million dollars to prosecutors to go towards restitution for victims and multiple criminal fines. Now, some of Kelly’s royalty payments coming to about that amount have been garnished and will be sent by Universal.
A judge presiding over Kelly’s case in New York City recently ruled that Kelly, Universal, and Sony owed prosecutors the amount of $507,234.05. The court order went on to state that Universal was currently in possession of $567,444.19 in music publishing royalties that under normal circumstances it would have paid the artist. But instead, they’re ordered to cut the check to authorities to clear Kelly’s restitution debt instead.
The prosecutor’s office’s statement also revealed that the development lets Sony off the hook completely:
“The outstanding balance fluctuates because it is subject to interest, but as of today is $507,234.05. Universal Music Group is holding at least $567,444.19. Because the funds held by Universal will cover the entire restitution debt, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will withdraw our Writ of Garnishment against Sony.”
Kelly is serving two concurrent sentences for various sex crimes stemming from cases in both New York and Chicago, having been convicted on a total of six counts of sex trafficking and racketeering back in September of 2021 and another three counts in February of the following year, tacking an extra year onto his previous 19-year sentence.
The allegations against Kelly were enumerated in a Lifetime channel documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” and he was dropped by both RCA and Sony before his trial began in 2020. And it’s a good thing for Kelly’s victims as well as the state of New York that the unpaid royalties came to light, since Kelly is purportedly in the red by some $2 million and is otherwise unable to pay. Neither he nor anyone at Universal Music Group has commented publicly on the garnishment yet.