R. Kelly will remain in custody without bond as he awaits trial on child pornography charges, a judge ruled Tuesday. Kelly is also accused of paying thousands of dollars to recover videotapes of himself having sex with teenage girls.
The singer appeared in a Chicago federal courtroom and pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges from an indictment released in Illinois last week.
Kelly, 52, is facing one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, four counts of producing child pornography, five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, the document shows.
Assistant US Attorney Angel Krull argued that Kelly was “an extreme danger to the community, especially to minor girls” and was a flight risk. Defense attorneys said Kelly has no money to flee.
After Tuesday’s arraignment and detention hearing, Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg said he and the singer were disappointed by the judge’s decision.
“We thought we’d get him out, but the judge saw it otherwise and we respect his ruling,” Greenberg told reporters.
Last week, Kelly was arrested in Chicago on two separate federal grand jury indictments in Illinois and New York. The indictments allege Kelly recruited women for sex, persuaded people to conceal that he had sexual contact with teenage girls and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars buying back the missing videotapes.
The singer is being held in the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. He has been in solitary confinement with no access to TV or contact with other people, his attorney said.
Kelly’s next hearing in Chicago has been scheduled for September 4. It’s unclear whether he will be taken to a New York court to face the additional charges.
Kelly paid thousands of dollars to recover sex tapes, prosecutors say
The indictment released last week in the Northern District of Illinois accused Kelly of videotaping himself having sex with at least four girls under the age of 18 beginning in 1998.
A few years later, after Kelly learned that some of those videos were missing from his “collection,” he and others began paying “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to several people to recover them, the indictment says.
When they recovered the videos, the indictment states that Kelly and his associates directed people to take polygraph tests to ensure they had returned all copies of the videotapes.
Prosecutors allege Kelly and his former business manager, Derrel McDavid, facilitated a trip abroad in 2002 for a girl and her parents to make them unavailable to law enforcement. They also gave them gifts, including a GMC Yukon Denali SUV, and money for over a decade to lie to investigators and conceal the girl’s sexual relationship with Kelly, the indictment said.
In the Illinois indictment, Kelly is charged with one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, four counts of producing child pornography, five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
A separate five-count indictment in the Eastern District of New York accused Kelly of sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, forced labor and violations of the Mann Act involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity from 1999 to the present.
R. Kelly is accused of preying “upon young women and teenagers whose dreams of meeting a superstar, soon turned into a nightmare of rape, child pornography and forced labor,” Homeland Security Special Agent-in-Charge Angel Melendez said in a statement last week.
Kelly has vehemently denied allegations of sexual misconduct in the past.
The New York indictment details alleged incidents in four states: Illinois, Connecticut, California and New York. There are five Jane Does referenced throughout, including three minors. Kelly is the only defendant in the indictment filed July 10.
The indictment also alleges he exposed at least one individual to a sexually transmitted disease without disclosing it.
His lawyer says ‘he’s not a danger to anybody’
Greenberg has said his client is not a flight risk and that “he’s not a danger to anybody at all.”
Following Kelly’s new indictments, Greenberg said the allegations appear to be the “same as the conduct previously alleged against R. Kelly in his current state indictment and his former state charges.”
“He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain,” Greenberg said last week in a statement. “Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him.”
He’s faced abuse allegations over the years
The singer has faced accusations of abuse, manipulation and inappropriate encounters with girls and young women for more than two decades, and has been on trial before.
In 2002, Cook County authorities indicted Kelly on 21 charges related to child pornography. A jury acquitted him of all charges when the case was finally tried in 2008.
Interest in the case against Kelly was revived last year when the documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” aired on Lifetime.
Last February, he was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims, including three who prosecutors say were underage girls. The charges span from 1998 to 2010. Kelly pleaded not guilty.
He posted the $100,000 bail and left Chicago’s Cook County Jail less than three days after he was arrested. He was arrested and jailed again in March for failure to pay his ex-wife child support of $161,000.
In late May, a grand jury indicted him on 11 more charges pertaining to one of the four accusers, including aggravated criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual assault. A person convicted of these charges can get up to 30 years in prison under Illinois law.
Before his arrest last week, Kelly had been out on bond from state charges in Illinois.