What to Know
- Singer R. Kelly was arrested in Chicago Thursday on two separate federal indictments in Illinois and New York
- The 13-count indictment in Illinois alleges Kelly paid hundreds of thousand of dollars to recover videos of himself in sex acts with minors
- 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
Note: You can read the full federal indictment against R. Kelly below.
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 2008 trial in which he was ultimately acquitted of child pornography charges, according to a 13-count federal indictment filed in Chicago on Thursday.
Kelly was indicted on four counts of producing child pornography, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography and five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, according to the indictment unsealed Friday.
Kelly was arrested Thursday night while walking his dog near his home at Trump Tower in Chicago, according to his attorney. He was simultaneously indicted on five separate charges in federal court in New York.
Two former employees of Kelly were also indicted, including his ex-business manager Derrel McDavid, on one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, as well as two counts of receiving child pornography. Former employee Milton Brown, also known as June Brown, was also 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 that minor and four others. [[506766952, C]]
Kelly was indicted in June 2002 on 21 counts of child pornography, related to one video allegedly made with "Minor 1" and for which he was acquitted in June 2008. 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.
In 2000, authorities say Kelly instructed Minor 1 to falsely deny a sexual relationship with him to police, and then in January and February of 2002, caused her and her parents to travel to foreign countries so as to make them unavailable to law enforcement investigating their relationship and the video at the center of the case and ensuing trial.
Then in 2002, prosecutors allege McDavid told Minor 1's father to lie to a Cook County grand jury by denying that his daughter was in said video, at the same time Kelly allegedly persuaded the girl and another identified only as "Minor 2" to deny a sexual relationship with Kelly to the Cook County grand jury. [[504323662, C]]
Authorities say in 2007, Kelly and McDavid paid Minor 2 $250,000 to return a tape of Kelly engaged in sex acts with her and Minor 1. Later that same year, prosecutors claim the two again paid Minor 2, as well as another unnamed person, $100,000 each for their efforts to recover more videos.
All the while, from approximately 2000 to 2015, federal authorities allege Kelly and McDavid made payments and bought gifts for Minor 1 and her parents in an effort to persuade them to cover up Kelly's relationship with her and the videos of him engaging in sex acts with her.
Kelly was also indicted on five counts of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child in a separate federal indictment filed in New York on Wednesday.
That indictment says Kelly and his managers, bodyguards and other assistants picked out women and girls at concerts and other venues and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly. They also set rules the women and girls had to follow, including not leaving their rooms — even to eat or go to the bathroom — without Kelly's permission, calling the singer "Daddy," and not looking at other men, the indictment alleges. Kelly was the only individual named in the indictment. [[238427591, C]]
Kelly's arrest in Chicago Thursday came nearly five months after he was released on bail for additional sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors.
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 on the federal indictment in Chicago would be held early next week, "at which time Mr. Kelly hopes to be released from custody."