UPDATE 2/25 11:00 a.m. ET: R. Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf during an arraignment hearing in Chicago on Monday, February 25. The performer’s next court date is scheduled for March 22.
Original story below:
R. Kelly, who has been accused of sexually abusing young women for more than two decades, was arrested on Friday, February 22.
The “Ignition (Remix)” singer, 52, turned himself in at a Chicago police station at approximately 8:15 p.m., hours after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for alleged incidents that involved four victims and occurred between 1998 and 2010. At least three of the victims were between the ages of 13 and 17.
A Cook County, Illinois, judge had issued a no-bail warrant for Kelly’s arrest earlier on Friday after the four indictments were filed. He is expected to be held in custody overnight before a scheduled appearance in court on Saturday, February 23.
“He is extraordinarily disappointed and depressed,” Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told the Associated Press. “He is shell-shocked by this.”
Attorney Michael Avenatti announced on February 14 that he handed over a newly discovered videotape to Chicago prosecutors that allegedly shows Kelly having sex with an underage girl. CNN also reviewed the footage and reported that “a naked man who appears to be R. Kelly is seen performing multiple sex acts with the girl,” whom he repeatedly refers to as “14 years old.”
Kelly has been accused of sexual abuse, manipulation and inappropriate behavior since the early 1990s, but he has long maintained his innocence.
In 1994, the three-time Grammy winner illegally married his then-15-year-old protégée, Aaliyah. Their union was annulled months later at the behest of the late songstress’ family. Then in 2002, a video surfaced showing a man who appeared to be Kelly having sex with and urinating on an underage girl. He was subsequently arrested on 13 counts of child pornography, but a jury acquitted him six years later.
Kelly made headlines again in 2017 when BuzzFeed News reported that he allegedly held a group of women against their will in what the site described as an “abusive cult.” He also denied those claims, as have some of the women.
More recently, the R&B performer was the subject of Lifetime’s six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which included more than 50 interviews with his former collaborators and accusers. Activists and celebrities later launched the social media movement #MuteRKelly to call on streaming services to drop his music.