It was reported on Thursday (March 23) that Heather Williams, one of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse victims, was granted access to his Sony Music royalties—estimated to be worth $1.5 million.
According to Billboard, Illinois Supreme Court determined that her claims should be “given precedence” over the disgraced crooner’s Chicago landlord, whom he also owes $3.5 million. Williams was also granted the reward because she was the first to properly demand the money from Sony.
Williams filed a lawsuit in 2019 against the convicted singer claiming that he enticed her into his studio at age 16 by offering her a part in a music video. Kelly repeatedly had sex with her while she remained underage. After concluding the litigation in 2020, she was granted a $4 million settlement.
The court later ruled that Williams should continue receiving his royalties until the judgment is paid off.
After his 2022 sentencing on sex trafficking and racketeering charges, Kelly was ordered to pay over $48,000 in fines and restitution. When he was sentenced this past February on child pornography charges in Illinois, he was ordered to pay an additional $42,000. Prosecutors seized close to $30,000 from the 56-year-old’s prison account to start paying off the penalties.
Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s attorney, is currently working to appeal Williams’ judgment. She argued that the “default” judgment awarded to Williams “never should have been entered.”
Explaining to the outlet, “I’ve never in my career seen such a flouting of the rules to deny him even the opportunity to defend these civil cases, even when the courts were fully aware that Kelly was incarcerated, unrepresented at points, and facing multiple criminal indictments. Indeed, much of these civil proceedings occurred without Kelly’s knowledge.”
Distribution of Kelly’s royalties held by Sony has been stalled until the conclusion of his legal proceeding, but it’s unclear how much money is now in the account.