R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse, no-bail warrant issued

R. Kelly is an American recording artist songwriter record producer and former professional basketball player. Photo Date: 12/19/07 / Photo: Andrew Steinmetz / CC BY-SA 2. / (MGN)
R. Kelly is an American recording artist songwriter record producer and former professional basketball player. Photo Date: 12/19/07 / Photo: Andrew Steinmetz / CC BY-SA 2. / (MGN)

Each count carries up to seven years in prison. If Kelly is convicted on all 10 counts, a judge could decide that the sentences run one after the other — making it possible for him to receive up to 70 years behind bars. Probation is also an option under the statute – ASSOCIATED PRESS

AIWA! NO!|R&B star R. Kelly is scheduled to appear in bond court Saturday in Chicago after he was charged with sexual abuse allegations spanning at least two decades.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Friday afternoon announced the 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. They involve four victims, at least three of whom were younger than 17. Foxx said the sentencing range for aggravated sexual assault is up to seven years in prison.

If he is convicted on all 10 counts, a judge could decide that the sentences run one after the other — making it possible that he receives a sentence of up to 70 years behind bars.

Probation is also an option under statute.

R. Kelly, the R&B star who has been trailed for decades by lurid rumors that made him Public Enemy No. 1 to the #MeToo movement, was charged Friday with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving multiple victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17.

Tandra Simonton, spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, confirmed to The Associated Press that charges had been filed against the 52-year-old Grammy winner, but she declined to give a specific number. Media reports said there were 10 counts.

Some of the alleged abuse went back at least as far as 1998, according to charging documents. An indictment unsealed Friday specifically referenced abuse that took place around Feb. 18, 2003. The indictment provides no detail.

A message seeking comment from R. Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, was not immediately returned.

Over the years, Kelly, who is best known for hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” has consistently denied any sexual misconduct. His arrest sets the stage for another #MeToo-era celebrity trial. Bill Cosby went to prison last year, and former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial.

Kelly was charged a week after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he recently gave Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of the singer having sex with an underage girl. It was not immediately clear if the charges were connected to that video.

In 2008, a jury acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges over a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and the young woman allegedly depicted with him denied they were in the 27-minute video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand. Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, could have gotten 15 years in prison.

Legally and professionally, the walls began closing in on Kelly after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and the multipart Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired last month. Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”

After the latest documentary, Chicago’s top prosecutor, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, said she was “sickened” by the allegations and asked potential victims to come forward.

#MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly’s music and promoters not to book any more concerts. And protesters demonstrated outside Kelly’s Chicago studio.

In the indictment, the prosecution addresses the question of the statute of limitations, which is likely to be raised by the defense. It describes how prosecutors can charge Kelly under Illinois law even though the alleged crimes occurred as much as two decades ago.

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