The R&B singer, R & B, was arrested Thursday night in Chicago for new allegations of federal sex crimes, a few months after being accused at the state level of abuse and aggravated sexual assault.
The 13-count charge presented by the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern Illinois District includes allegations of child pornography, a child enticing to engage in criminal activities and obstruction of justice, Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, an assistant US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, told the Washington Post.
Read the indictment of the Illinois
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have opened a five-point statement against Kelly on Friday, accusing Kelly of, among other things, running a racket enterprise for two decades – dating back to 1999 and continuing through February 2018.
Read the indictment in New York
According to a letter filed by Richard P. Donoghue, US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, with the court on Friday, Kelly participated at that time in the "sexual exploitation of children, forcing and transporting women and girls to engage in sexual activity illegal activities, kidnapping and forced labor ".
For years, his staff – managers, bodyguards, drivers and personal assistants – have recruited underage women and girls as sexual partners for Kelly, according to the indictment. The prosecution says that the employees sometimes found these girls at Kelly's concerts and invited them backstage; other times the singer made them fly through the country to meet him on tour. Often, prosecutors say, sexual activity has been filmed and photographed.
Kelly, according to the accusation, had "rules": the girls had to call him "Dad", they were not allowed to leave their rooms to eat or go to the bathroom without his permission, they had to wear loose clothes when not going with him at an event, and were instructed to keep his head down and he was forbidden to look at other men.
The accusation specifically specifies the abuse of five unnamed girls and women, three of whom were minors at the time. An alleged woman was locked up in a room for three days without food. When an employee eventually fed her, she got tired and dizzy and woke up with Kelly in the bedroom "in circumstances that made it clear she had sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious," Donoghue said. Another accused Kelly of having unprotected sex without disclosing had a contagious venereal disease. And a sixteen-year-old victim claimed that Kelly physically abused her when he "disobeyed his sexual directions, including slapping, choking and isolation in rooms for days without access to food".
If convicted on all fronts, Kelly faces decades in prison. He is expected to be charged in federal court in Chicago on Friday.
In addition to Kelly, two of his former employees – Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown – were charged in the Chicago conspiracy case to receive child pornography. McDavid was also accused of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Steve Greenberg, Kelly's lawyer, said in a declaration Friday that the singer was aware of the investigation and the charges were not a surprise. "He and his lawyers don't see it now that he starts his time in court, with the truth that comes out and with his claim from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for his own personal gain" .
The legal problems of the entertainer have spread in recent months after a lifelong documentary, "Surviving R. Kelly", had reported renewed attention to the value of decades of accusations of sexual misconduct. In February, Kelly was indicted in the state court of Illinois with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, each with a potential sentence of three to seven years in prison. He spent three days in Chicago prison in Cook County before being released on a loan of $ 1 million.
The charges filed against Kelly by Cook County prosecutors say he sexually abused four women, three of whom were minors at the time, between 1998 and 2010. It was not immediately clear whether the new federal charges were related to these charges.
Another 11 counts were added in May. Kelly pleaded not guilty to all state-level charges and denied the charges in an explosive March interview on "CBS This Morning" in which he cursed, shouted, beat his fists and shouted, claiming that he had been "murdered" and "buried alive" by his accusers.
The Cook County attorney, Kim Foxx, praised the "collaborative efforts" of his office and federal forces in securing the new federal charge.
"And let's be clear: it's not just about surviving R. Kelly. For most victims, it's about surviving a less famous rapist, a trusted adult or a total stranger," he said in a statement on Friday.
The accusations of sexually abusing young girls have haunted Kelly, whose real name is Robert S. Kelly, for decades. In 2008, he was tried on a charge of child pornography resulting from a video that was sent to the Chicago Sun-Times which allegedly showed him having sex and urinating on a minor girl. The girl and her parents refused to testify, and Kelly was exonerated from all points of view.
The thorough check after the release of the Lifetime documentary led Kelly to leave her record label and launched a movement, #MuteRKelly, which encouraged radio stations to stop playing the music of entertainer. He also urged the Chicago authorities to open new investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and demand that potential victims come forward.
"There is nothing we can do to investigate these allegations without the cooperation of victims and witnesses," Foxx told a news conference in January. "We can't look for justice without you."
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