Heather Williams, one of the women who was abused by R. Kelly as a minor, has been given access to the singer’s music royalties, which have an estimated worth of $1.5 million.
According to Billboard, the Illinois Supreme Court determined that Williams properly demanded the money from Sony. As a result, her claims should take priority over a Chicago landlord that also opened up a case against Kelly, the court ruled.
Williams, who filed a civil lawsuit against Kelly in 2019, said she was 16 years old when the disgraced singer lured her into his studio, promised her that she could be in a music video, then repeatedly had sex with her as a minor.
Williams was awarded a judgement of $4 million after winning her case against Kelly in 2020. Before Thursday’s ruling, a lower court had already ruled in favor of the plaintiff. The court ordered Sony to give up “any funds currently in Kelly’s royalty account,” and to keep giving the royalties to Williams until the judgment is paid off.
The judge gave priority to Williams over Midwest Commercial Funding, a property manager that was awarded $3.5 million in a separate case after filing a complaint against Kelly for unpaid rent at a Chicago studio.
Kelly’s attorney, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said she’s working to overturn Thursday’s ruling.
“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,” Bonjean told Billboard. “Indeed, much of these civil proceedings occurred without Kelly’s knowledge.”
Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2022 for sex trafficking and racketeering in New York.