CHICAGO (CBS) — R&B singer R. Kelly left his Chicago studio and turned himself in to Chicago police Friday night ahead of a bond court hearing expected for Saturday afternoon. The star has been charged in Cook County with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
— Scott Placko (@ScottPlacko) February 23, 2019
The singer exited his West Side studio around 7:30 p.m. to a horde of media, giving a quick salute as he came out the door. He ignored requests for comment. He got into a black van and was taken to CPD’s 1st District police station.
— Scott Placko (@ScottPlacko) February 23, 2019
Kelly was handcuffed immediately after entering the station.
Following the arrest, Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg spoke to the media, slamming the charges.
“I think all the women are lying,” he said. “Unfortunately the State’s Attorney has now succumbed to public pressure, to pressure from grandstanders like Michael Avenatti and Gloria Allred, and brought these charges. Mr. Kelly is strong. He’s got a lot of support, and he’s going to be vindicated on all these charges, one by one if it has to be.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said Kelly was indicted on charges of sexually abusing four victims. The charges date back as far as 1998. Illinois has no statute of limitations on child sex abuse charges.
Nine of the counts against Kelly specify the victim was between 13 and 16. One count did not specify any ages. The charges are Class 2 felonies.
Judge Dennis Porter signed a no-bail warrant for Kelly’s arrest at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
The charges identify the victims only by initials, and the dates of the alleged abuse:
- H.W. (13-16 years of age), victim of four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse between May 26, 1998, and May 25, 1999;
- J.P. (13-16 years of age), victim of three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse between May 1, 2009, and Jan. 31, 2010;
- R.L. (13-16 years of age), victim of two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse between Sept. 26, 1998, and Sept. 25, 2001;
- L.C. (no age given), victim of one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on Feb. 18, 2003.
Foxx’s office said she would discuss more details of the case after Kelly’s bond hearing on Saturday.
In the one case in which the victim was not identified as a minor, Kelly is accused of forcing sexual contact on the victim by use of force or the threat of force.
R. Kelly is charged in four different aggravated criminal sexual abuse cases that occurred between 1998 and 2010. Three of those, including the most recent, involved minors. @cbschicago
— Maggie Huynh (@maggiehuynh) February 22, 2019
After Foxx announced the charges, Greenberg said Kelly is a “sacrificial lamb, there is no merit to this.” He said he expected Kelly to appear in court and post bond on Saturday. Ultimately, he will be acquitted “because he didn’t do anything,” Greenberg said.
Attorney Michael Avenatti, who has said he was hired by women accusing Kelly of sexual abuse, tweeted “it’s over” shortly after the charges were announced. Avenatti held a news conference to discuss allegations against Kelly Friday, saying he believes Kelly “will rightfully die in a prison” and “should never walk free a day in his life.”
After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) February 22, 2019
Last week, Avenatti announced he had obtained new video proving Kelly sexually abused an underage girl, and claimed he gave the evidence to Cook County prosecutors. He said the video, a nearly 45-minute VHS tape, shows Kelly sexually assaulting an underage girl.
Avenatti also said he plans to go after Kelly’s “enablers,” saying managers, agents and others “looked away while these young girls were taken advantage of because they didn’t want to kill the golden goose … and as far as I’m concerned, they are just as guilty as the predator, R. Kelly.”
In an interview Thursday with CBS News, Avenatti said they went through a significant process to authenticate the tape and that throughout the tape, both the female victim and R. Kelly refer to her as being “14 years of age.”
Avenatti said the video depicts two different scenes, shot on separate days.
In 2009, Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges connected to a videotape of him allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage girl.
CNN has reported that they viewed the “new” tape, and it is much clearer.
“It is very clear video, that is quite different from the tape that was being sold back in the 90s and 2000s that was used in the first trial,” one reporter said.
Avenatti claims that Kelly’s voice is identifiable from the tape and so is a mole on his back that was subject of much scrutiny in the case in 2008.
Friday’s charges come a day after two women publicly accused Kelly of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers.
Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington have a photo of them taken in 1995 when they were 16 and 15 years old. They’re posing with LL Cool J, who was performing with R. Kelly at a concert in Baltimore.
“At the after party, Mr. Kelly pointed to us and talked to his security,” Scaff said. “He said to put us on the stage.”
Now 40, Scaff recounted the details of that night during a press conference Thursday afternoon. She says they were offered alcohol and marijuana and were led to a hotel room. They say Kelly entered the room with his genitals exposed and asked both teens to perform sex acts.
“He then had sexual intercourse with me even though I did not have the capacity to consent,” Scaff said.
Meanwhile, Washington hid in the bathroom.
Attorney Gloria Allred said Kelly never asked their ages, but neither teen was in a state to consent. She said the women shared their stories with friends and relatives at the time of the incident, and they would both be willing to testify under oath.
“They are willing to face their fear,” Allred said.
Allegations of Kelly’s sexual abuse go back decades and have prompted a recent nationwide protest called #MuteRKelly to boycott his music, in the wake of a Lifetime documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” featuring interviews with the music artist’s alleged accusers.