R&B star R. Kelly, freshly released from a Florida jail, reported to Chicago police today (June 7) to face child pornography charges stemming from a videotape that authorities say shows the Grammy
R&B star R. Kelly, freshly released from a Florida jail, reported to Chicago police today (June 7) to face child pornography charges stemming from a videotape that authorities say shows the Grammy winner having sex with an underage girl. Kelly, whose first name is Robert, was accompanied by defense attorney Edward Genson when he walked into the Cook County (Ill.) Criminal Courts Building shortly after 9 a.m.
Police advised him of his rights before handcuffing him and transporting him to a nearby police station for booking. The singer said very little and appeared calm. Genson was angry that police did not allow Kelly to be processed at the main courthouse. "I've never seen this happen in my life," the lawyer said.
Kelly, who has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct in civil lawsuits, was indicted by a Cook County grand jury Wednesday on 21 counts of child pornography stemming from a videotape that has circulated across the country in recent months.
Kelly, 35, has denied he is the man in the video. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $100,000.
The singer, who lives in suburban Chicago, was arrested Wednesday at a house he rents near Davenport, Fla. He was jailed overnight before being released yesterday on $750,000 bond. The Florida judge ordered that he have no contact with minors outside of his family.
Chicago police and Cook County prosecutors said they interviewed about 50 witnesses in their investigation before determining the tape showed Kelly and an underage girl. FBI forensics experts found the tape to be authentic, they said.
"The claims in this case are unfounded," Genson said after the Florida hearing. "The charge is that there's a young lady under the age of 18 on that tape and there isn't." Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine said the video was made in November 1997 or later and that the girl was born in September 1984.
Kelly is the focus of at least four lawsuits, three of which accuse him of having sex with underage girls. He has acknowledged settling two of the lawsuits regarding underage sex, but his lawyers have said they will fight the third. The singer is married to a former dancer from his touring troupe. They have a newborn son and two young daughters.
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