Nine of the felony charges pertain to victims aged between 13 to 16 years old.
After decades of being faced with accusations of child pornography, sexual battery and statutory rape, R&B mogul Robert Sylvester Kelly, best known as R. Kelly, turned himself into Chicago police Friday.
The charges include 10 counts of aggravated criminal abuse, with three out of the four victims being underaged. A no-bail arrest warrant was approved, and Kelly will appear in court Saturday afternoon.
According to the state's attorney for Cook County, Kim Foxx, the crimes took place between 1998 and 2010. Nine of the felony charges pertain to victims aged between 13 to 16 years old. Foxx says Kelly could serve three to seven years of prison per count.
We will discuss our investigation, new evidence and new developments in the R. Kelly matter at our press conf at 4pm today local time at 800 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL. This will follow the press conf of Kim Foxx.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) February 22, 2019
Two of the victims, who are being represented by acclaimed women's rights attorney Gloria Allred, present fresh evidence against Kelly. Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti will be counsel to six individuals, including two victims, two parents and two whistle-blowers. Avenatti is known for representing Stormi Daniels in her legal battle with United States President Donald Trump.
In 2008, Kelly was acquitted of 21 counts of child pornography, the first time he was charged with a sex crime by Chicago courts. That trial involved an infamous tape allegedly showing Kelly and a girl aged about 13 or 14 years old engaging in several sexual acts, but both denied it was them. One of the current charges involves the same victim in that trial.
Avenatti turned in previously unreleased footage uncovered by his office to Cook County State's attorney, in which he describes "leaves no question" of Kelly's guilt in having partaken in sexual intercourse with a minor. In the video, both parties reference the victim being 14 years of age.
Avenatti claims his office is in the process of obtaining two other incriminating tapes. Meanwhile, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security specialized in sex trafficking is investigating the alleged crimes, including one of Kelly running a 'sex-cult.'
The charges follow the airing of the docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly," which premiered in early January, and revealed several accusations of sexual violence, including from his ex-wife. The scrutiny of the musician continued with the #MuteRKelly movement, aiming to put an end to the singer-songwriter-producer's once-stellar career and devoted fan base, which remains intact despite the avalanche of accusations.
Many activists have noted Kelly's impunity as a result of not only his success and status but because "black women and girls who come forward with allegations of sexual violence are too often silenced or shamed," according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Kelly's lawyer, Steve Greenberg, dismissed the allegations, claiming "all of the women are lying. Everybody's trying to profit off of R. Kelly."