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R. Kelly pleads not guilty as court documents outline alleged sexual abuse of three underage girls

Bail for the R&B star has been set at $1 million.

A courtroom sketch of R Kelly appearing in court.
A courtroom sketch of R Kelly appearing in court.
Image: AP/PA Images

R. KELLY HAS pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually abused four people dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. 

Kelly walked into a Chicago courtroom wearing an orange jumpsuit after spending the weekend in the city’s 7,000-inmate jail. He said little during the brief arraignment, telling the judge only his name. His lawyers spoke on his behalf.

The singer-songwriter was arrested on Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. A judge on Saturday set bond at $1 million, meaning that Kelly must post $100,000 to be released.

Defence solicitor Steve Greenberg said Kelly’s confidants were trying to gather the money, and he expected Kelly to post bail this evening. He said his client’s ability to post bail is not affected by a child support case because that case is a civil court matter.

If released, Kelly is forbidden from having any contact with females younger than 18.

The recording artist has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. Kelly has consistently denied any sexual misconduct, and he was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who said he represents two Kelly accusers, said his legal team gave prosecutors a second video that shows Kelly sexually abusing a minor. Avenatti previously gave prosecutors video evidence that he said showed Kelly having sex with an underage girl.

Avenatti said the second video involves a 14-year-old girl. He said the video from 1999 or 2000 is about 55 minutes long, but he did not say if it was the same 14-year-old girl seen in the first video he turned over to the authorities.

The conduct in the tape can be described as nothing short of outrageous, illegal. It leaves not question as to Mr. Kelly’s guilt.

Avenatti said he is aware of a third tape, but he did not provide details.

Greenberg reiterated at a news conference that Kelly has done nothing wrong and said no one has shown him any evidence to the contrary.

“Everybody is entitled to a defence. Everybody is entitled to the presumption of innocence. We should all be taking a step back. Let’s see what happens, what the evidence is and how this plays out,” Greenberg said.

‘Not wealthy’

In arguing for bail within the singer’s ability to pay, Greenberg told a judge over the weekend that Kelly is not wealthy despite decades of success creating hit songs. The lawyer blamed mismanagement, bad contracts and other issues for his client’s financial woes.

Details of the allegations against Kelly emerged on Saturday when the prosecution released four detailed documents — one for each accuser — outlining the basis for the charges. The allegations date back as far as 1998 and span more than a decade.

A girl who attended Kelly’s child pornography trial in 2008 got his autograph after a court session.

He later invited her to his home in the Chicago suburb of Olympia Fields, where they had sex multiple times starting the following May, when she was 16, according to the documents, which said he also slapped, choked and spit on the girl.

In 1998, another girl reported meeting Kelly at a restaurant where she was having a 16th birthday party. Kelly’s manager gave her the singer’s business card and suggested she call Kelly. The girl’s mother heard the exchange, took the card and told the manager her daughter was 16.

But her daughter later retrieved the card from her purse. She contacted Kelly, who told her to take a cab to his studio, where they had sex periodically for a year, the documents said. After the first encounter, she was given an envelope of cash.

In early 2003, a Chicago hairdresser told prosecutors that she thought she was going to braid Kelly’s hair, but he pulled down his pants and instead tried to force her to give him oral sex. The woman, who was 24, was able to pull away, but Kelly ejaculated on her and spit in her face, the documents said.

RKelly Michael Avenatti is representing some of the alleged victims. Source: AP/PA Images

Kelly’s DNA was found in semen on one of the accuser’s shirts, and semen found on a shirt worn by another was submitted for DNA testing, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said. It was not clear when the accusers turned the shirts over to authorities.

Each count of the new charges carries up to seven years in prison, making it possible for him to receive up to 70 years. Probation is also an option.

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 that he held women against their will and ran a “sex cult.”

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Associated Press

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