R. Kelly Faces Up to 70 Years in Prison Over Criminal Sexual Abuse Charges

R. Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County.

R. Kelly in BK

Image via Getty/Santiago Felipe

R. Kelly in BK

R. Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County, the Chicago Sun-Times reports, and could face up to 70 years in prison.

Nine of the 10 charges indicate the victims were between 13 and 16 years old. According to NBC Washington, the last charge is for “aggravated criminal sexual abuse during the commission of another felony.”

News emerged on Friday, along with his first court date on March 8. Attorney Michael Avenatti said that "details of the investigation" will be presented at a press conference in Chicago at 3 p.m.

“It’s over,” Avenatti tweeted on Friday, adding in a second tweet, “After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived.”

It’s over.

— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) February 22, 2019

After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived.

— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) February 22, 2019

We will discuss our investigation, new evidence and new developments in the R. Kelly matter at our press conf at 4pm today local time at 800 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL. This will follow the press conf of Kim Foxx.

— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) February 22, 2019

Chicago Tribune reporter Jason Meisner shared via Twitter on Friday that Judge Dennis Porter has issued a no-bail warrant for Kelly.

///BREAKING/// A no-bail warrant was issued this morning for #RKelly by Judge Dennis Porter, records show.

— Jason Meisner (@jmetr22b) February 22, 2019

During the press conference, Chicago’s Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx detailed each count of assault, which involves four victims in total. The assaults all took place between May 26, 1998 and Jan. 31, 2010. In three of the cases, the singer was charged “based on the victim being under the age of 17 and Robert Kelly being more than five years older than the victim,” Foxx said.

For one victim, he was charged based on “transmission of semen… upon any part of the body of the victim for the purpose of sexual gratification, during the course of an underlying felony of attempted criminal sexual assault.”

Foxx added that aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a class two felony with a sentencing range of three to seven years per count, and that the charges are probationable. She concluded by saying, “We anticipate that Mr. Kelly will appear in bond court tomorrow afternoon,” on Saturday (Feb. 23).

On Feb. 14, Avenatti said he received new evidence in the form of a 45-minute VHS that purportedly shows Kelly having sex with a different girl thought to be 14 years-old. Avenatti then handed the tape over to Foxx.

“This conclusive video evidence is not the same evidence previously seen and used in connection with the prior criminal matter in which Mr. Kelly was charged nor does it depict the same instances of sexual assault,” Avenatti wrote in a statement. “Further, the time frame of the sexual assaults depicted in the video is within the Illinois statute of limitations.”

Avenatti said he was preparing to discuss a “major development in the case,” accusing Kelly of tampering with evidence, witness intimidation, physical threats, and more to land a not-guilty verdict for his 2008 child pornography trial. 

While Foxx’s office said it “cannot confirm or deny an investigation,” Foxx has asked any potential victims to step forward.

His attorney, Steven Greenberg, has previously denied Kelly’s alleged misconduct, saying he wasn’t made aware of the video before Avenatti’s announcement last week.

“I have not been contacted by anyone connected with law enforcement, nor has R. Kelly,” Greenberg wrote in a statement, per NBC. “Mr. Kelly denies that he has engaged in any illegal conduct, of any kind whatsoever. He would like to be able to continue to write and sing and produce and perform.”

While the tapes haven’t been made public, CNN shared that it had seen the second video where the girl “refers to her body parts as 14 years old,” the news network wrote. Additionally, reporter Jim DeRogatis wrote in the New Yorker that law enforcement has implied that the footage could bring an indictment.

“If the video were what it is claimed to be, by sharing it with CNN, Mr. Avenatti would be committing a felony, as would the reporter who viewed it,” Greenberg's statement read. “I doubt if either would put themselves in that position. That combined with the other facts that I know lead me to question the reports.”

Shortly after the news broke, AP reported R. Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg as saying that the entertainer is "shell-shocked." Greenberg also said that the singer will turn himself in on Friday night. 

You can watch the livestream of the press conference below.

View this video on YouTube


Latest in Music