entertainment 6 months ago

R. Kelly Arrested on Federal Sex Trafficking Charges

Rolling Stone — Althea Legaspi and Daniel Kreps

R. Kelly was arrested Thursday evening on federal sex crime charges, NBC New York reports. According to two law enforcement officials, the singer was apprehended in Chicago and is expected to be brought to New York.

NYPD detectives and Homeland Security investigator agents arrested Kelly on sex trafficking charges. Darrell Johnson, a rep for Kelly, declined to comment to Rolling Stone, but noted that he will hold a press conference on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. in Atlanta to address the charges.

Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg issued a statement Friday morning, “As has been reported, Robert Kelly was arrested by federal agents last night while walking his dog. The agents were courteous and professional, as was Mr. Kelly. The charges arose from the alleged conduct in the Northern District of Illinois as well as the Eastern District of New York. 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.”

“Mr. Kelly was aware of the investigations and the charges were not a surprise. He had already assembled a team of outstanding federal litigators. He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain. Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him,” Greenberg continued. “A bail hearing will be held early next week, at which time Mr. Kelly hopes to be released from custody.”

The new indictment by the Northern District of Illinois contains 13 charges, including sex crimes, child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice, per Chicago Sun-Times. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn will also reportedly file a separate indictment against Kelly with five additional charges, the New York Times reported., including four counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people over state lines for the purpose of prostitution. A rep for the U.S. Attorney’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Kelly’s former manager Derrel McDavid and former employee Milton “June” Brown were also charged in connection to the Kelly indictment, which claims that the singer and both men spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to recover missing videotapes from the singer’s “collection” that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with underage girls. Kelly is also accused of tampering with the witnesses connected to his initial child pornography trial, including pressuring the father of the girl – who was Kelly’s then-14-year-old goddaughter – allegedly seen in the videotape to misidentify his own daughter to a grand jury.

Kelly is already facing 11 counts of sexual assault and abuse from charges filed in Chicago, Illinois, in May, which include four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault by force, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of aggravated sexual abuse against a victim aged 13 to 16. In February, he was also charged in Chicago with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for allegedly abusing four women, three of whom were underage at the time. Kelly has pleaded not guilty for all charges.

The singer has been accused of alleged serial sexual predation with underage girls dating as far back as a lawsuit filed in 1996. In 2017, several women came forward claiming Kelly had them in an abusive “sex cult.” He stood trial on 21 counts (later reduced to 14) of child pornography charges filed in 2002 stemming from a videotape where he is allegedly seen in sexual acts with an underage girl, for which he was acquitted in 2008. Kelly has denied all wrongdoing.

In February, Jim DeRogatis, a journalist who has been tracking accusations against Kelly for two decades, reported that the Department of Homeland Security had opened up a human-trafficking investigation against Kelly, with more than two dozen agents reportedly working on the case. The current federal charges have been reported to stem from the Mann Act, which addresses transporting underage girls across state lines.

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