Universal Music Publishing Group Ordered to Pay $500,000+ to R. Kelly Victims

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Universal ordered to garnish R. Kelly royalties to pay victims

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Photo Credit: R. Kelly Mugshot (2003) Miami Police Department

A New York judge has ruled that Universal Music Publishing Group must pay the royalties of disgraced singer R. Kelly to pay the victims he sexually abused.

Universal Music Publishing Group must pay the royalties of convicted sex offender and disgraced singer R. Kelly to the victims he sexually abused, according to a New York judge in court documents filed on Wednesday—the royalties amount to over half a million dollars, garnished from the Chicago native’s earnings.

In June, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York filed motions asking a judge to order Sony and Universal Music Publishing Group to turn over any money earned from R. Kelly’s music catalog. The filing dated June 1 reveals that the Eastern District of New York sought to use the garnished funds to pay outstanding penalties and restitution ($140,900 and $379,649.90, respectively) to two abuse victims following the court awarding them more than half a million dollars.

The garnishment order filed by US District Judge Ann M. Donnelly on Wednesday, August 23, shows an outstanding balance of $507,234.05. While that figure will fluctuate due to interest, prosecutors say that Universal Music Group holds a minimum of $567,444.19 in relevant accrued funds. Since the funds contained by UMG cover the entire cost of restitution, the US Attorney’s Office will withdraw their Writ of Garnishment against Sony, the prosecution added.

According to the documents, Universal Music Publishing Group has ten days from the receipt of the garnishment order to pay R. Kelly’s debt.

Kelly is serving 31 years in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking charges following separate convictions in New York and Chicago. He was convicted of nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering in September 2021 and sentenced in June 2022. He was also ordered to pay a $100,000 fine during sentencing.

In February, Kelly was sentenced to 20 years for a separate set of sex crimes in Chicago, including child pornography charges. US District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled that 19 years would be served concurrently with his existing prison time, adding only a year to his previous 30-year sentence.