What to Know
- Singer R. Kelly has been arrested in Chicago on federal sex crime charges, according to two law enforcement officials.
- The 52-year-old was arrested by NYPD detectives and Homeland Security Investigation agents on sex crime charges, officials tell News 4
- The R&B star has been the subject of different sexual abuse allegations for nearly two decades, with some alleged acts dating back to 1998
Singer R. Kelly has been at the center of numerous allegations, appearing in courtrooms and even jail cells in recent months in Chicago.
But with yet another case mounting against him, what exactly is the R&B star facing now?
Here's a breakdown of what's happened so far this year:
What new charges is he facing?
In the most recent case, Kelly is named in a 13-count indictment, which includes charges of child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice.
There are separate federal indictments filed in both Chicago and Brooklyn.
Law enforcement officials say Kelly will also face five counts in New York on racketeering
What has he been charged with before?
In February, the 52-year-old R&B singer was charged with and pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse over alleged abuse of three minors and one woman over a period of 10 years. Not long after, he was jailed once again over child support payments.
In June, Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 new counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse in Illinois. Four of the new charges were Class X felonies, the most serious felony offense in Illinois, short of first-degree murder. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six to 30 years in prison.
Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg said that the June allegations against Kelly stemmed from "an existing case" involving the one of the four alleged victims from prior charges.
What are the allegations?
Prosecutors allege R. Kelly paid several hundred thousand dollars to recover videotapes of himself engaging in sexual acts with minors and pressured witnesses to falsify testimony ahead of the trial in which he was acquitted of child pornography charges, according to a 13-count federal indictment filed in Chicago on Thursday.
"The charges arose from alleged conduct in the Northern District of Illinois as well as the Eastern District of New York," his attorney Steve Greenberg said in a statement Friday. "The conduct alleged appears to largely be the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr. Kelly in his current State indictment and his former State charges that he was acquitted of. Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old."
Indictments for the first round of charges in Illinois indicated there were up to four victims, three of whom were under the age of 17, prosecutors said.
One of the indictments, involving a victim identified only as "L.C.," alleges Kelly knowingly "transmitted his semen onto L.C.’s body, for the purpose of Robert Kelly's or L.C.’s sexual gratification or arousal, by the use of force or threat of force." The incident took place on Feb. 18, 2003, prosecutors said.
Indictments also referenced alleged victims H.W. and R.L., who accused Kelly of both sexual penetration and engaging in oral sex when the victims were “at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age, and Robert Kelly was at least five years older than” them.
The incidents against H.W. took place between May 26, 1998 and May 25, 1999 and incidents involving R.L. took place between Sept. 26, 1998 and Sept. 25, 2001, prosecutors said.
An indictment referencing a separate alleged victim, "J.P.," accused Kelly of sexual penetration when the victim was "at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age, and Robert Kelly was at least five years older than J.P." Kelly is also accused of transmitting semen “onto J.P.’s body, for the purpose of Robert Kelly's or J.P.’s sexual gratification or arousal.” The incidents took place betwen May 1, 2009 and Jan. 31, 2010, prosecutors said.
A woman named Jerhonda Pace identified herself as "J.P." on her Facebook page in May, writing, "no matter how "wrong" you think I am, the law is on my side, a MINOR at the time."
Pace was also named as the alleged victim in the June charges against Kelly.
Officials argued the statute of limitations for the cases is extended because either the victims were under 18 during the alleged offense or because it was reported to law enforcement within two years of the alleged offense.
What do Kelly and his attorneys say?
Kelly and his attorneys have denied the allegations in recent months, even giving a volatile and explosive interview.
The singer's crisis manager, Darrell Johnson, said Friday his legal team was expecting the new indictments to happen. Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was in high spirit as he awaits his trial, according to Johnson.
"Mr. Kelly has declared his innocence from day one," said Johnson, who says he has been working with the R&B star for six months. "I've seen nothing, and I do mean nothing, that would lead to any type of guilt."
On Friday his attorney, Steve Greenberg, released the following statement:
"As has been reported, Robert Kelly was arrested by federal agents last night while walking his dog. The agents were courteous and professional, as was Mr. Kelly.
Mr. Kelly was aware of the investigations and the charges were not a surprise. He had already assembled a team of outstanding federal litigators. He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to the vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain. Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him.
A bail hearing will be held early next week, at which time Mr. Kelly hopes to be released from custody.
There will be no further comment at this time."
What happens next?
Kelly appeared in court Friday in an orange jumpsuit where he sat quietly as a judge read him his charges. His attorney said a bail hearing on the federal indictment in Chicago would be held early next week, "at which time Mr. Kelly hopes to be released from custody."
What are the previous accusations?
The singer has been the subject of different sexual abuse allegations for nearly two decades, with some of the alleged acts dating back to 1998.
R. Kelly was arrested in 2002 and charged with 14 counts of child pornography, based on a 27-minute videotape that allegedly showed him having sex with an underage girl.
Kelly denied all the charges, and he eventually went to trial in Cook County in 2008.
A jury in 2008 acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges. Kelly faced 15 years in prison for that charge, but the young woman in that claim denied it was her and did not testify.
He has been sued several times over the years in civil court and has settled at least three lawsuits against him by women who each accused him of having sex with them when they were minors.
Although he settled all of these cases, he never acknowledged any guilt.
Two years ago, in 2017, the website Buzzfeed published a lengthy article alleging that Kelly was holding several women in a "sex cult." R. Kelly denied that story as well, and at least one woman denied that she was being held against her will.
“We are satisfied that Federal Authorities believed the families and survivors that were victims of Robert Kelly," an attorney representing the Savage family, who claimed their loved one was being held by Kelly, said in a statement. "We will be traveling to Chicago soon to reunite with Joycelyn [Savage].”
Then an online campaign began in 2018, with the hashtag #MuteRKelly.
In January, the documentary "Surviving R. Kelly" aired on the Lifetime network.
R. Kelly has written that he himself was the victim of sex abuse. In his autobiography he describes being raped over several years by an older woman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.