R. Kelly Arrested on Federal Sex Trafficking Charges

R. Kelly
Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images

R. Kelly arrives for a hearing on sexual abuse charges at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on May 7, 2019 in Chicago.

R. Kelly has been arrested in Chicago on sex trafficking charges.   

The "I Believe I Can Fly" singer was nabbed by federal authorities on Thursday and reportedly taken into custody about 7 p.m. local time after he was indicted by a grand jury.   

According to TMZ and other titles, Kelly was arrested on 13 charges related to an indictment filed in Illinois federal court. “The counts include child porn, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice," says a spokesperson for The U.S. Attorney's Office, the Associated Press reports.    

The singer's publicist said a press conference will be held Friday morning to discuss the development, CBS Chicago reports.    


The R&B star's private life has been under the microscope since Lifetime aired its powerful documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, in January. The six-part series featured more than 50 testimonies from journalists, family, fellow musicians and members of his circle who discussed their experiences with an artist whose career has been plagued by claims of abuse.  

After the series premiered, protests against Kelly began to ramp up, the #MuteRKelly campaign took flight and Sony Music cut ties with the artist.  

The following month, Kelly pleaded not guilty to 10 related counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving three girls and one woman over roughly 10 years starting in the late 1990s.  

In May, prosecutors in Chicago charged Kelly with 11 new sex-related counts, including some that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. R. Kelly, through his lawyers, pleaded not guilty to the offences, which alleged took place between May 2009 and January 2010.  

Kelly’s arraignment date and time has not yet been set.


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