R. Kelly indicted on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse

Tanya Cunningham
February 23, 2019

Attorney Michael Avenatti says a 14-year-old girl seen with R. Kelly on a video Avenatti turned over to prosecutors is among four victims in a newly released indictment charging the singer with aggravated sexual abuse.

The R&B singer was charged on Friday in Cook County, Illinois, and prosecutors sought an arrest warrant for him later that afternoon.

Kelly is scheduled to appear in bond court Saturday in Chicago after he was charged with sexual abuse allegations spanning at least two decades. It comes after attorney Michael Avenatti announced earlier this week that he gave a videotape to the state attorney's office that he claims shows Kelly engaging in sexual acts with a minor. Kelly, through his attorneys, has consistently denied the allegations. He said the video surfaced during a 10-month investigation.

One victim is the subject of four different counts.

The charges were brought forth in the midst of recent serious allegations against the singer.

Each charge carries a sentence of three to seven years in prison, meaning Kelly could face up to 70 years in prison if convicted.

Kelly avoided a child pornography conviction in 2008 pertaining to his alleged involvement in a 2002 sex tape in which he appeared to urinate on and have intercourse with a girl believed to be 14 years old. Protesters demonstrated outside Kelly's Chicago studio.

R Kelly at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2013.

In the indictment, the prosecution addressed the question of the statute of limitations, saying that even abuse that happened more than two decades ago falls within the charging window allowed under IL law. They said Kelly had sex with one of the teens when she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and could not consent.

But "Surviving R. Kelly" touched off a new furor on social media when it debuted in January, prompting his record label, Sony Music-owned RCA, to end its relationship with the hitmaker. His collaborators have included Jay-Z and Usher.

Chicago prosecutors have not said if that footage was part of their case against Kelly.

Kelly broke into the R&B scene in 1993 with his first solo album, "12 Play", which produced such popular sex-themed songs as "Bump N' Grind" and "Your Body's Callin'".

According to the Lifetime documentary, he married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah in 1994, a union that was annulled months later by her parents.

Kelly and Aaliyah never confirmed the marriage, though Vibe magazine published a copy of the purported marriage license.

Kelly has denied allegations of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years.

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