What to Know
- A federal judge has ordered R&B singer R. Kelly held in a Chicago jail without bond on sex crime charges
- Prosecutors argued that Kelly would be an extreme risk if released, especially to minors, and that he might flee
- R. Kelly faces charges that he recruited girls and women to have illegal sex with him and then covered it up with payments and threats
A federal judge has ordered R&B singer R. Kelly held in a Chicago jail without bond on sex crime charges.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber handed down the ruling Tuesday after Kelly was arrested last week and charged in Chicago and New York with sex crimes including having sex with minors and trying to cover it up.
Kelly, wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackled at the ankles, did not speak except to say “yes sir” when the judge asked if he understood the charges. His attorney, Steve Greenberg, submitted a not guilty plea.
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Prosecutors argued that Kelly might flee and would be an "extreme danger to the community ... especially little girls," alleging the singer abused girls "hundreds of times."
"The defendant repeatedly sexually abused a 14-year-old girl and filmed it," the prosecutor said. "Now we have the tapes."
"Fame and power give him a unique power to influence and intimidate witnesses," the prosecutor continued, adding, "it’s who the defendant is and what he has been doing his whole life. It won’t go away."
The R&B singer appeared in the federal courtroom on charges that he recruited girls and women to have illegal sex with him and then covered up the crimes by paying and threatening the victims and witnesses.
Federal judges were initially supposed to meet Monday in Chicago to figure out how to proceed in the case that involves separate indictments in Chicago and New York. That meeting was postponed until Tuesday before Kelly was arraigned.
The ruling Tuesday means that Kelly will remain in custody to face a separate indictment in New York, where he is charged with racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child.
It was unclear when that hearing would be held and if he would have to be transported to New York for the hearing, or could appear via a video linkup from Chicago.
In February, the 52-year-old R&B singer was charged with and pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse over alleged abuse of three minors and one woman over a period of 10 years. Not long after, he was jailed once again over child support payments.
In June, Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 new counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse in Illinois. Four of the new charges were Class X felonies, the most serious felony offense in Illinois, short of first-degree murder. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six to 30 years in prison.
Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg said that the June allegations against Kelly stemmed from "an existing case" involving the one of the four alleged victims from prior charges.
"The charges arose from alleged conduct in the Northern District of Illinois as well as the Eastern District of New York," Greenberg said in a statement. "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."