UPDATE: R. Kelly has posted his $1 million bond and will be released Monday afternoon, per a sheriff’s office spokesperson.
R. Kelly pleaded not guilty Monday morning to all 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse the singer is facing.
At a hearing at a Chicago courthouse, Judge Lawrence Flood was assigned the Kelly case; over the weekend, following Kelly’s arrest, there was speculation that Judge Vincent Gaughan, who presided over the singer’s 2008 trial, would again oversee the latest charges against Kelly.
Kelly, wearing an orange jumpsuit after spending three nights in a Cook County prison, was then arraigned on the 10 counts in four separate indictments – one for each victim, three of whom were allegedly underage at the time of the incidents – with the singer’s lawyer pleading not guilty on all counts on behalf of the singer.
Judge Flood kept Kelly’s bail at $1 million, with $100,000 needed in order to bond out; the judge also clarified that the singer’s outstanding child support payments of more than $160,000 would not need to be paid in order for release. Kelly’s next hearing is set for March 22nd. Before that, Kelly will be back in court March 6th for a hearing related to the child support payments.
It remains unclear when Kelly will bond out. Over the weekend, his lawyer Steven Greenberg said Kelly’s finances were a “mess” due to the loss of his record contract and tour dates. As part of the bail agreement, Greenberg also turned over Kelly’s passport, making it unlikely that the singer will keep his upcoming concerts in Germany.
Prior to Kelly’s arraignment Monday, lawyer Michael Avenatti, who provided authorities with a previously unseen sex tape allegedly showing Kelly with an underage girl, announced on Twitter that he was possession of a second tape with the same female, initialed “R.L.” in the prosecution’s charges. TMZ also reported that Avenatti was in the process of procuring a third Kelly sex tape, this time with a different underage girl. Rolling Stone has not independently confirmed the existence of a third tape.
Kelly’s not guilty plea was expected as, on Sunday night, the singer’s advisor Don Russell and business lawyer Brian Nix told Rolling Stone that the victims’ claims were “unsubstantiated allegations of behavior that portrays him as a monster by people with a pecuniary motive.”
“It’s a conspiracy and everybody’s motivated by money,” Don Russell told Rolling Stone.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx elaborated on the details of the case against Kelly in a press conference that followed his bail hearing Saturday.
One victim, “H.W.,” was celebrating her 16th birthday when she first encountered Kelly at restaurant; the two allegedly had a year-long sexual relationship from May 1998 to May 1999. Another 16-year-old victim, “J.P.,” provided authorities with a shirt that had semen on it, with the woman claiming it was Kelly’s. The victim also alleged that Kelly would often slap, choke and spit on her.
In the case of “L.C.,” “The victim was 24 years old and worked as a hairdresser for Robert Kelly,” Foxx said. “While the victim was waiting alone in a room waiting for Robert Kelly so she could braid his hair, Robert Kelly entered saying he didn’t want his hair braided that day. He wanted his head massaged. At the time he said this, he had his pants pulled down and he was pointing to his penis. Robert Kelly grabbed the victim by the head and tried to force her mouth onto his exposed penis, but the victim was able to resist. Robert Kelly then masturbated and ejaculated onto the victim and spit in her face several times. The shirt the victim was wearing was submitted to the Illinois state police for DNA testing, and the semen was identified on the shirt.”
Foxx also discussed the sex tape allegedly showing Kelly having a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl initialed “R.L.” “In the video, the victim repeatedly, repeatedly says she is 14 years old and Robert Kelly is seen penetrating the victim orally and vaginally,” Foxx said.
After Monday’s arraignment, Avenatti held a press conference where he announced that he handed over a second VHS – which also allegedly depicts Kelly with “R.L.” – to prosecutors. At press time, it’s unclear whether the second tape will result in additional charges against Kelly.
— Jason Meisner (@jmetr22b) February 25, 2019