Written by Reuters
23 Feb, 2019 | 6:48 pm
REUTERS – Grammy-winning R&B singer R. Kelly was charged in Chicago on Friday (February 22) with the aggravated sexual assault of four people, including three teenage girls, following years of accusations against the performer.
Kelly, 52, was charged in a 10-count Cook County Circuit Court indictment handed down two months after the debut of a six-hour documentary series on the Lifetime television network in which multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct and abuse. The R&B superstar, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, surrendered to Chicago police on Friday evening. His attorney Steven Greenberg held a brief news conference after Kelly surrendered.
Greenberg told Reuters in an interview in January the Lifetime series was a “complete fabrication” and that there was no evidence to support the allegations against his client.
At a news conference on Friday after the charges were detailed in a court filing, the Cook County state’s attorney, Kimberly Foxx, said three of the four victims Kelly is accused of sexually abusing between 1998 and 2010 were under age 17 at the time of the assaults. Kelly was expected to appear at a bond hearing on Saturday (February 23) afternoon, according to Foxx. The entertainer faces a maximum sentence of 70 years in prison if convicted.
Later on Friday, attorney Michael Avenatti, who has represented porn star Stormy Daniels in a legal battle with President Donald Trump, told a separate news conference he has been retained by two people who he said were victims, as well as two parents and two “whistleblowers” from Kelly’s inner circle.
Avenatti said his firm had uncovered a 40-minute videotape shot in the late 1990s allegedly showing Kelly performing sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl. Avenatti said he had given the tape to prosecutors. Chicago prosecutors have not said if that footage was part of their case against Kelly. Kelly, best known for his hit single “I Believe I Can Fly,” has for years denied accusations of abuse swirling around him.
In 1994 he married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah, a union that was annulled months later by her parents. In 2008, Kelly was tried and acquitted on child pornography charges in Chicago. Aaliyah died in 2001 in a plane crash. But the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” touched off a new furor on social media when it debuted in January, prompting his record label, Sony Music-owned RCA, to end its relationship with the hitmaker. Kelly, a three-time Grammy winner whose hits also include “Bump N’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin,” grew up in a Chicago public housing project where, according to his autobiography, he was sexually abused beginning at age 8.
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