Doing time for crime: Jail sentences for celebrities who broke the law

Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman and rapper Tekashi 6ix9nine were all embroiled in high-profile cases in 2019. PHOTOS: AP, AFP

Court, rise. The verdict - guilty - was repeatedly handed out to a number of celebrities this year over misbehaviour charges.

Here is a round-up of those cast into the Hall of Shame, plus a preview of high-profile cases coming up in 2020.

1. Felicity Huffman, 57

Crime: Like many parents, the Desperate Housewives star wants her children to enter the best schools. The prosecution said she paid US$15,000 (S$20,300) - disguised as a gift to a charity body - for someone to boost her daughter's SAT college entry exam score.

Huffman was among more than 50 parents implicated in a college-admission scam that involved bribery of school officials and falsification of academic and athletic records.

Time: On Sept 13, Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in a California jail. She started serving on Oct 15 and was released 11 days later.

She also had to pay a US$30,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service.

2. Tekashi 6ix9ine, 23

Crime: The long list of offences - including firearm possession, assault and involvement in a murder conspiracy - meant that the rapper was facing a minimum of 47 years in jail. He cooperated with the police by testifying against two former members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang, an act which was praised by the judge in court.

Time: On Dec 17, the rapper was given a two-year jail term, with the 13 months already spent in detention counted as part of the sentence.

But no one knows if the Bloods will go after him when he comes out. He has rejected a government offer to be in a witness protection programme.

3. Jung Joon-young, 30


Crime: He was one of the earliest artists to be swept up by a K-pop storm that started in January.

Among other misdeeds, the singer used a chatroom to share videos of women in sex acts that were filmed without their knowledge. He, and others, were accused of gang-raping a woman in January and March in 2016.

Time: On Nov 29, a judge handed him a six-year jail term. He must also go for 80 hours of sexual violence counselling.

4. A$AP Rocky, 31


Crime: Rocky's lawyers said he and his crew were harassed by two men on June 30 in Stockholm after the rapper had performed at a hip-hop festival.

In a video of the incident, he can be heard saying: "We don't wanna fight. We don't wanna go to jail."

But after a fight broke out, he was arrested and held in jail for a month, despite a plea from United States President Donald Trump to free him. He was allowed to return to the US before the court issued its verdict on assault charges.

Time: A judge found him guilty in mid-August of assault and handed down a two-year suspended jail term.

5. Lori Loughlin, 55


Crime: The Full House actress and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were said to be participants in a college-admission scandal, paying US$500,000 to get their two daughters accepted into the University of Southern California, falsely designating them as crew team recruits, though neither played the sport.

Time: Loughlin's legal team is set to be back in court on Jan 17 for another preliminary hearing for the trial. She and her husband each face up to 45 years in prison.

She rejected the offer of a plea deal that came with a two-year sentence. But she has already been deemed guilty in the court of public opinion.

Crown Media Family Networks, which includes the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, has cut ties with her.

6. Harvey Weinstein, 67


Crime: The once-powerful Hollywood producer has been accused by many women, including stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale, of sexual misdeeds, from harassment to rape, over the years.

A tentative global settlement was reached this month to split US$25 million among more than two dozen accusers. The deal will not require him to admit wrongdoing.

Time: But Weinstein has not got off scot-free. He is scheduled to stand trial on Jan 6 in New York on charges that he raped a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a sex act on a different woman in 2006.

The hearing could last two months. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

7. R. Kelly, 52


Crime: Since the R&B singer launched his career in the 1990s, he has been dogged by talk of his sexual misbehaviour, especially his interest in teenage girls.

In 1994, Kelly, then 27, married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah, with reports saying he bribed an official to accept her listing of her age on the wedding certificate as 18. The marriage was annulled in February 1995.

A recent documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, further damaged his standing, with testimony from alleged victims of his controlling ways.

Time: Kelly is now detained in a Chicago correctional facility and faces criminal charges in three states.

In October, a judge ordered him to face a May 18 trial on charges that he recruited underage girls and women to have sex with him, isolating them and controlling what they ate and when they went to the bathroom.

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