Rep. Danny Davis (D., Ill.) said on Tuesday that disgraced R&B artist R. Kelly, who faces 10 years to life in prison for federal sex crimes, deserves a "second chance" after serving his prison sentence.
"I think he'll be welcomed back into Chicago as a person who can be redeemed," Davis told TMZ. "I'm a big believer in what is called second chances." Kelly was convicted on nine counts of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges for recruiting women and underage girls for sex.
A Democratic primary challenger to Davis, Kina Collins, accused Davis of "undermining the broader fight for justice" by advocating for Kelly. She called the Illinois Democrat's words "thoughtless, distasteful, and incredibly disappointing for a man charged with representing thousands of black women and girls in our district."
Davis later clarified his comments to the Hill and said "Kelly has been accused of criminal acts, gone through a court of law, been convicted, and must serve whatever time the court decides."
Davis has faced criticism for praising controversial figures before. In 2018, a pro-Israel group reconsidered its endorsement of Davis after the congressman said anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was an "outstanding human being."
The congressman also urged Kelly to "find peace with his Maker and peace with himself" in prison and to "reconcile with the universe for the acts that he may have committed."