Singer R. Kelly pleads not guilty to 10 charges of sex abuse

Singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty in a Chicago courtroom on Monday to 10 charges of sexual abuse. Photo courtesy Chicago Police Department

Feb. 25 (UPI) — In his initial court appearance Monday, rhythm and blues singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four people.

The artist was indicted last week under his real name, Robert Sylvester Kelly. Bail was set at $1 million but he remained in jail until Monday, when he appeared before Cook County Associate Judge Lawrence Flood. Kelly wore an orange jail uniform as his attorney, Steven Greenberg, entered the pleas.

Three of the accusers were under the age of 17 during incidents prosecutors said occurred between 1998 and 2010.

The charges against Kelly include solicitation of an underage girl and sexual abuse, a year-long sexual relationship with a girl he met on her 16th birthday, an attempt to force his 24 year-old hairdresser to perform a sex act while he was free on bond during his 2008 child pornography trial, and videotaped sex with a young girl at his home in the late 1990s.

Greenberg said Kelly “is someone who should be wealthy at this point in his career, and through mismanagement, through people, hangers-on and bad contracts, bad deals, bad leases like he had on his studio, he doesn’t really have any money at this point.” Kelly was unable to obtain $100,000, or the required 10 percent in cash, for bail.

For decades, the singer has been surrounded by accusations of sexual impropriety, but matters intensified in January after the airing of a documentary television series that included interviews with women who said they’d been in abusive sexual relationships with Kelly.

This month, attorney Michael Avenatti provided prosecutors with a videotape he said shows Kelly engaged in sex with a 14 year-old girl. Monday, Avenatti said he turned over a second videotape he said is connected to the case.

Kelly is scheduled to return to court on March 22.


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