Singer R Kelly Will Stay Jailed in Sex Crimes Case

Musician R. Kelly departs from the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago after a status hearing in his state criminal sexual abuse trial on June 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

CHICAGO (CN) –A federal judge on Tuesday ordered embattled R&B star R. Kelly to be held in jail without bond as he awaits trial on racketeering and child pornography charges.

The singer will remain in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, where he has been held since his arrest last week on federal criminal charges in both Illinois and New York.

Grand juries indicted Kelly on 13 counts of child pornography and obstruction of justice in Illinois, which he pleaded not guilty to in court Tuesday, and five counts of racketeering in New York.

Rumors of Kelly sexually abusing minor girls have swirled for decades, but he was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.

Now he is accused of paying off several girls and their families to keep quiet about the alleged abuse. Two of his business associates were also charged in Illinois.

The indictments say Kelly has had a team helping him recruit minors and young women, transporting them between states to attend his concerts and for sex with the singer, and bribing some of the victims to return pornographic video tapes and lie to prosecutors.

Kelly showed up to court Tuesday in an orange jumpsuit, his two young girlfriends sitting in the front row after walking in holding hands.

Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber to detain Kelly, calling him “an extreme danger to the community.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull argued in court that Kelly had committed “incredibly serious crimes involving the sexual abuse of young teen girls,” some of them in middle school at the time.

Naming 12 victims involved in the current allegations against him, Krull said Kelly’s “manipulative and controlling behaviors” caused his victims to fear him.

“It’s who the defendant is. It’s what he’s been doing most of his adult life,” the prosecutor added.

Calling Kelly not only dangerous but a flight risk, Krull said “no one is above the law, not even a famous musician with money and power.”

But Kelly’s defense attorney Steven Greenberg argued the singer is broke and can’t afford to be a flight risk.

“How could he flee?” Greenberg asked. “He has no money.”

Kelly only gets small royalty checks, his attorney said, and all of his money has gone to his former recording studio that evicted him and child support payments, for which his ex-wife recently took him to court.

The singer stays in his Trump Tower apartment, only leaving to smoke cigars and walk his dog, according to Greenberg.

And, Greenberg joked, despite his hit song, “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly is afraid of flying and won’t get on an airplane.

Because of his celebrity, Greenberg said Kelly has been kept in the “shoe” at MCC, having no contact with other people and without television, reiterating that the singer can’t read.

However, Judge Leinenweber ruled that Kelly’s defense team did not provide enough evidence “to overcome the presumption of detention” that comes with child pornography charges, and ordered he stay in prison.

His attorney asked that Kelly be arraigned for the New York charges in front of Leinenweber to avoid travel, which will be decided in the coming weeks.

The latest federal indictments only add to charges against Kelly. He pleaded not guilty earlier this year to 21 counts of sexual assault in Illinois state court, and is awaiting a hearing on his motion to dismiss a civil suit filed in Cook County by one of his alleged victims.

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