R. Kelly Forced to Forfeit Royalties to Pay Victim’s Restitution

R. Kelly and Universal Music Group have been compelled by a federal judge to turn over more than $500,000 in songwriting royalties in order to pay legal fees associated with the federal sex trafficking case for which he was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2022.

According to Billboard, US District Judge Ann Donnelly signed a writ of garnishment on Wednesday forcing UMG to deliver Kelly’s outstanding sum of $520,549 in restitution and criminal fines to Brooklyn federal prosecutors. The music publisher was singled out after UMG disclosed that it was holding $567,444 in publishing royalties, leading prosecutors to determine it could completely resolve the penalty.

Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean, who is in the process of appealing his case, shared in a statement: “We maintain that Mr. Kelly’s convictions and the restitution orders were erroneous and the Second Circuit [of the US Court of Appeals] will have the final word on it… I can promise that when the Second Circuit reverses Mr. Kelly’s convictions, we will seek the return of every cent that has been wrongfully taken from him.”

This is not the first, or likely last, time that the disgraced R&B singer has been forced by the court to pay his due in restitution. In September 2022, Kelly was ordered to forfeit nearly $28,000 from his inmate account to cover unpaid criminal fines.

More recently in February, R. Kelly was sentenced to 20 years in prison for federal child sex crimes in Illinois, to be served concurrently with his ongoing 30-year sentence. The prison sentence was paired with over $42,000 in restitution, which could be redirected from the remaining royalties held by UMG or Sony, R. Kelly’s former label.