CHICAGO (CBS) — R. Kelly will be transferred from the federal lockup in downtown Chicago to New York, to face arraignment next month in a racketeering case accusing him of regularly recruiting women and girls at his concerts and sexually assaulting them.
Kelly was ordered held without bail earlier this week in a separate case in Chicago, accusing him and two former employees of plotting to pay off the girl at the center of his 2008 child pornography case, and her family, to lie to police and a grand jury about what happened.
According to court documents, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ordered the U.S. Marshals office to take Kelly to New York for his arraignment on August 2, and then bring him back to Chicago for his next hearing here on Sept. 4.
The embattled R&B singer was arrested in Chicago last week while walking his dog. The next day, federal prosecutors in Chicago and New York unsealed the two separate indictments.
According to a 13-count indictment in Chicago, Kelly sexually abused five girls in the late 1990s, made videos of four of the victims, and then paid hush money and made threats to cover up his sex crimes.
“Defendant’s psychological abuse and control of the young girls, who are now adults, is real and ongoing,” prosecutors wrote in a memo supporting their request to keep him in jail for now. “Further, defendant and his co-conspirators used defendant’s fame, power, and financial resources to go to great lengths to obstruct justice, cover-up evidence, and tamper with witnesses. For years, defendant used threats, intimidation, and pressure to cause victims, their family members, and witnesses to provide false information to law enforcement regarding defendant’s sexual abuse of young teen girls.”
The Chicago indictment accuses Kelly and former manager Derrel McDavid of conspiring to cover up videotapes Kelly allegedly made of himself sexually abusing children. Another Kelly employee, Milton “June” Brown, faces child pornography charges for allegedly helping ship videotapes of Kelly’s sexual crimes in the U.S. mail.
Kelly and McDavid allegedly coerced the girl and her parents to lie about the video at the center of his 2008 child pornography case, and claim it wasn’t her with Kelly on the tape. The singer and his manager also allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover videos of sexual abuse, and paid off witnesses and victims to change their stories.
Kelly, McDavid, and Brown have pleaded not guilty. McDavid was released on bond last week, and Brown was released on his own recognizance on Friday, after his first court appearance. Kelly is being held in solitary confinement in Chicago.
Meantime, the federal indictment in New York charges Kelly with five felony counts, including racketeering and Mann Act violations, which involve transporting a person across state lines to engage in illegal sexual activity. The racketeering case also accuses him of kidnapping, sexual exploitation of a child, and forced labor.
Federal prosecutors said Kelly and his managers, bodyguards, and other employees acted as a criminal enterprise to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly. Kelly and his enterprise would pick out women and girls who attended his concerts and other events; and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly. He would later hold them against their will, according to the feds.
Once the women and girls Kelly had picked started staying with him, he and his employees would set rules his victims had to follow, including not leaving their rooms without Kelly’s permission, even to eat or go to the bathroom; not looking at other men; to wear baggy clothing whenever they weren’t with him; demanding absolute commitment to Kelly; and calling the singer “Daddy.”
Kelly allegedly coerced some of the girls he’d abused to engage in sexually explicit conduct on video, which he later had shipped across state lines. The feds also said he didn’t inform his victims that he had a sexually transmitted disease.
The indictment alleges that the criminal acts date back to 1999. Through the recent documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” federal authorities in New York realized some of his acts happened there.
“It wasn’t until the docuseries put again a spotlight on this type of activity that our agents assigned to the trafficking in persons unit – that are very experienced – decided to take a hard look at it,” said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New York. “One of the victims that was included in the indictment, as recent as last year, was brought here to New York so he could carry out his nefarious sexual acts with her, including not informing her of a sexually transmitted disease.”
Kelly has already been charged with over 20 counts of sexual abuse in Cook County. He was first charged in February with 10 counts of sexual abuse involving four females, including three children. In May, he was charged with an additional 11 felony counts involving one of those victims, identified only as JP.
His next hearing on the Cook County case is scheduled for Aug. 15. Cook County prosecutors have said they expect to decide by then which of the four cases they plan to pursue first. The judge in that case has said he wants to set a trial date for early next year.