R. Kelly, the R&B star who has been trailed for decades by lurid rumors of sexual abuse was charged Friday with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving multiple victims. (Feb. 22)
R. Kelly’s bond has been set at $1 million by a Chicago judge Saturday in the first hearing since the R&B star was charged with sexually abusing four people. The bond requires Kelly to post $100,000 to be released.
Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. is the same judge who presided over “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s bond hearing earlier this week.
During the hearing, defense attorney Steve Greenberg told the judge Kelly wasn’t a flight risk, saying, “Contrary to the song, Mr. Kelly doesn’t like to fly,” in reference to the Grammy-award winner’s hit “I Believe I Can Fly.”
The judge called the allegations against Kelly “disturbing” and said the bail amount equals $250,000 for each of the four people Kelly is charged with abusing. The singer stared at the floor as the judge spoke.
A prosecutor told the judge Kelly met with one of the people he’s charged with sexually abusing during his 2008 child pornography trial. The accuser gave law enforcement a shirt that had Kelly’s DNA on it, the prosecutor said.
Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.
During a press conference after the hearing, Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx provided more details on the accusers, which include Kelly’s then-24-year-old hairdresser, two 16-year-olds and one person who was 14 years old at the time of the first alleged incident. The multiple alleged criminal acts of sexual assault date back to 1998.
Greenberg rejected the allegations to reporters Saturday, saying, “He is a rock star. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex.” He added that Kelly is trying to get the bond money together and hopes to get out of jail later Saturday.
Kelly, 52, surrendered to police at 8:15 p.m. Friday night, hours after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Some of the charges stem from a newly discovered video found by attorney Michael Avenatti that allegedly shows Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl, according to a copy of the indictment obtained by USA TODAY.
Greenberg said earlier in the day that the singer had been “shell-shocked” by the charges. He told The Associated Press that his client is “extraordinarily disappointed and depressed” about the charges.
Avenatti held a press conference in Chicago Friday where he declared, “This marks a watershed moment in the 25 years of abuse by this predator known as R. Kelly.”
Avenatti also said he has discovered another video and is in the process of recovering a third video and plans to turn them over to Foxx’s office as well.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who says she represents multiple women who have accused Kelly of sexual misconduct, introduced two new accusers at a New York press conference Thursday. The women said they were teens when Kelly plied them with alcohol and marijuana during a mid-’90s Baltimore hotel room encounter that they say ended with the statutory rape of one of them.
“As I predicted yesterday, the wheels of justice are turning,” Allred said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY on Friday. “This may not be the only prosecution of Mr. Kelly, because we are aware of other open investigations in other jurisdictions, but I am very glad that he has been indicted in Cook County and that this day has finally come for Mr. Kelly.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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