What to Know
- Singer R. Kelly was arrested in Chicago Thursday on two separate federal indictments in Illinois and Chicago
- The 52-year-old was arrested by NYPD detectives and Homeland Security Investigation agents
- 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 was arrested on two new federal indictments in Illinois and New York on Thursday night, with prosecutors alleging he paid several hundred thousand dollars to recover videotapes of himself engaging in sex acts with minors and pressured witnesses to falsify testimony ahead of the 2008 trial in which he was ultimately acquitted of child pornography charges.
Kelly's latest arrest came nearly five months after he was released on bail for additional sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors.
A 13-count indictment filed in the Northern District of Illinois on Thursday and unsealed Friday charges Kelly with four counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, three counts of child pornography and five counts of coercing or enticing a minor into sexual activity.
Kelly was arrested Thursday night while walking his dog near his home at Trump Tower in Chicago, according to his attorney. He appeared in court Friday in an orange jumpsuit where he sat quietly as a judge read him his charges.
Two former employees of Kelly were also indicted, including his ex-business manager Derrel McDavid, on one count each of conspiracy to receive child pornography and conspiracy to obstruct justice, as well as two counts of receiving child pornography. Former employee Milton Brown, also known as June Brown, was charged with one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography.
Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg said in a statement Friday that the singer was "aware of the investigations" into him and that the charges "were not a surprise."
"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," Greenberg said.
The indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleges that in 1998 and 1999, Kelly, now 52, coerced an unnamed girl dubbed "Minor 1" - who was around 12 or 13 years old when they met two years prior - into sex acts for the purpose of filming it in four separate videos. Prosecutors also say that between roughly 1998 and 2002, Kelly engaged in sex acts with Minor 1 and four others. [[506766952, C]]
Prosecutors allege in Thursday's indictment that from 2001 - when Kelly learned that some of the videos in his collection were missing - through as late as 2015, Kelly, McDavid and other unnamed associates orchestrated the payment of several hundreds of thousands of dollars to various individuals in an effort to recover said videotapes, coerce witnesses to submit false testimony and more.
Kelly was simultaneously indicted on five charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child in federal court in New York.
He was scheduled to appear in federal court in Chicago for a removal hearing on the New York charges beginning at 1:45 p.m. CST.
"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," Greenberg's statement continued. "Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him."
Back in February, Kelly was charged with aggravated sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. He pleaded not guilty and was released from Chicago's Cook County Jail after posting bail. Greenberg said a bail hearing would be held early next week, "at which time Mr. Kelly hopes to be released from custody."