R. Kelly, free on bond since he was indicted on 21 child pornography charges, cannot go to Los Angeles to film a music video, but can travel to attend the BET Awards and perform at an upcoming concert

R. Kelly, free on bond since he was indicted on 21 child pornography charges, cannot go to Los Angeles to film a music video, but can travel to attend the BET Awards and perform at an upcoming concert, a Chicago judge ruled yesterday (June 4). The 36-year-old R&B singer hasn't been allowed to leave the Chicago area without a judge's permission since he was indicted June 5, 2002, on charges of having sex with an underage girl.

Kelly had sought to travel to Los Angeles to produce a video for a song off of an upcoming album. But Cook County Judge Vincent Michael Gaughan said Kelly's attorneys presented no argument why he couldn't produce a video with technology and creative resources in Chicago, where Kelly's resides.

Gaughan did allow Kelly, whose first name is Robert, to travel to Los Angeles for the BET Awards show on June 24; he is nominated in two categories. He was also given permission to go to Dallas for a charity concert for the families of soldiers injured or killed in the Iraq war. Gaughan said barring Kelly from the awards show or the charity concert would "do more harm than good."

A Kelly trip request last month prompted complaints by prosecutors, who have consistently opposed his travel. Kelly was granted his request to travel to New York to perform at a concert, but prosecutors later discovered he was never listed as a performer. Attorney Ed Genson said Kelly was waiting to sign a contract once he had the judge's permission. Kelly later withdrew from the show, Genson said.

Genson said barring Kelly from travel limited his ability to make a living. Cook County assistant state's attorney Ellen Mandeltort argued that Kelly's success is important only to his record company, Jive Records.

Kelly attended the hearing but remained silent. The singer has been the focus of at least four civil lawsuits, three involving sex with underage girls. He was also arrested in Florida in January on separate child pornography charges. No trial date has been set for the Illinois sex indictment. If convicted, Kelly could face 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.


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