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R. Kelly Freed

Singer’s arraignment likely in a month

R. Kelly quickly posted a $12,000 bond and was released by Polk
County, Florida, authorities, after being arrested yesterday on
twelve counts of possession of child pornography.

The R&B star was first arrested at his Davenport, Florida,
home last June after a Chicago grand jury indicted him on
twenty-one counts of child pornography. Those charges stemmed from
the infamous videotape that surfaced last February, allegedly
showing Kelly, 36, having sex with a minor. Kelly (born Robert S.
Kelly) pleaded not guilty to those initial twenty-one counts, was
freed on $75,000 bail, and promptly recorded a new single, “Heaven,
I Need a Hug.”

According to the Polk County, Florida, district attorney’s
office, after the June arrest, police found a digital camera
containing a dozen photographs of a naked, underage girl at one of
Kelly’s two Florida residences. Those images — including three
that the Polk County Sheriff’s Office says show the singer having
intercourse with the teen — were the basis for the twelve new
charges. The lag between retrieval of the camera and the latest
arrest was attributed to efforts to verify the girl’s age.

If convicted in Chicago, Kelly could face fifteen years in
prison and up to a $100,000 fine. Each of the twelve counts in
Florida could result in a five-year prison stay, which wouldn’t
necessarily run concurrently, putting the maximum potential prison
stay at sixty years.

An initial statement by the Kelly camp called the arrest “a
classic case of piling on, in which a local jurisdiction tries to
make headlines by attaching itself to a celebrity case.” A second
statement was almost immediately issued claiming that the
photographs were retrieved from a recording studio, rather than a
residence, and accused Miami authorities of rehashing the
pre-existing Chicago charges. “The more we learn about these new
charges against R. Kelly, the fishier it all seems,” the statement
reads. “The pictures he is charged with possessing were not found
in his personal possession or even in his house, but in a recording
studio some eight months ago. They involve no new alleged
misconduct. With Kelly’s career on the upswing again, is it
possible that they’re more interested in publicity than in
justice?”

“He had two houses here,” a spokesperson for the district
attorney’s office responded. “It may simply be a semantic
difference. I can say, in our jurisdiction, the courts are fairly
strict on the issue of possession. I’m confident we would not have
made a case unless they had good evidence.”

Kelly’s arraignment, which doesn’t require his presence in
court, will likely take place in late February or early March.
There is no word yet as to whether the case will further halt the
release of his much-delayed new album, Chocolate
Factory
.

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