After a weekend locked up, R. Kelly pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges and is hoping to bail out of jail
Chicago Police Department(CHICAGO) — After a weekend in jail, R&B singer R. Kelly is hoping to get his freedom back on Monday following a hearing in Chicago in his attorney entered on his behalf not guilty pleas to multiple sexual assault charges.
Kelly appeared in court on Monday morning wearing an orange jail jumpsuit with bold black letters on it reading “DOC” apparently for Department of Corrections. He held his hands behind his back during a hearing in which his case was assigned to Judge Lawrence Flood of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
The Grammy-winning singer later appeared before Flood. As two sheriff’s deputies stood on each side of the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer, his attorney, Steve Greenberg, entered the not guilty pleas for him.
During the brief hearing Judge Flood asked the defendant his name, and the singer replied, “Robert Kelly.”
Kelly nodded as Flood read the charges against him. Asked if he understood the special conditions imposed on him include refraining from contacting the victims or witnesses in the case and staying away from anyone under the age of 18 Kelly responded, “Yes sir.”
Flood ordered Kelly to return to court on March 22 and warned him that he must appear for each court date assigned to him.
Greenberg informed the judge that Kelly turned over his passport to the court clerk on Saturday.
Meanwhile, seemingly frustrated that the legendary R&B singer remained behind bars, some of his more proactive female fans have been calling Chicago’s Cook County courthouse clerk to inquire about helping to pony up the $100,000 cash Kelly would need to meet his $1 million bond and be released, according to Chicago Tribune reporter Will Lee.
Michael Avenatti, who said he is representing six people related to the case, posted a message on Twitter Monday morning that a second video has surfaced that shows R. Kelly engaged in the sexual assault of a minor.
“I can confirm that we will be providing a second video showing R. Kelly engaged in sexual assault of a minor to prosecutors this morning,” Avanatti tweeted. “This tape was recently uncovered in connection with our ongoing nationwide investigation on behalf of victims. Justice must be done.”
Kelly’s attorney told reporters on Sunday night that he hoped his client could collect the required $100,000 on Monday and pay his way to his release from jail.
“Banks are closed early on Saturday,” Greenberg explained on Sunday night. “You need to wait until the banks open up, you can’t just walk in and write a personal check, no matter who you are.”
Greenberg said that no matter how things unfold, Kelly will not be immediately released following Monday’s hearing.
“The hearing … he will still be in custody [and] he’s going to have to go back to the jail, regardless of what time the bail is posted,” Greenberg said.
The timing of his release remains tenuous. At Saturday’s bond hearing, Greenberg told the judge that his client’s finances are “a mess.”
Even if Kelly wrote a $100,000 check, it could take considerable time before his bank can satisfy court officials that he has those funds available, Chicago-area defense attorney Joseph Lopez told the Associated Press.
On Saturday, a Chicago judge ordered $1 million bond for Kelly after the singer surrendered on Friday night and was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse.
Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. also ordered Kelly to turn in his passport and forbade contact with the singer’s alleged victims. Kelly was indicted on Friday for a decade of sexual assault and abuse against four victims, three of whom were under the age of 17. Bail was set for $250,000 for each case.
Kelly did not react during the hearing on Saturday. He sat with a straight look on his face, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with his hands crossed behind his back throughout the hearing. Kelly only spoke with his lawyer while Lyke reviewed the charges, calling the prosecutors’ claims “disturbing.”
Greenberg, Kelly’s criminal lawyer, told the judge his client wasn’t a flight risk because “contrary to the song [‘I Believe I Can Fly’], he doesn’t like to fly.”
Greenberg added: “He can’t go anywhere anyways. He’s a recognizable person.”
Kelly’s “finances are a mess,” citing a child support judgement and no ability to generate residuals, said Greenberg. He’s expected back in court on Feb. 25.
The 52-year-old embattled star, whose given name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, had turned himself into Chicago police late Friday. A booking photo showed Kelly in a black hooded sweatshirt sporting a salt-and-pepper beard.
Prosecutors on Saturday released documents outlining the allegations against Kelly.
The singer met a girl at her 16th birthday party in 1998, according to prosecutors. His manager gave the teen Kelly’s business card and suggested she contact him. The girl’s mother overheard the conversation and took the card, but her daughter later retrieved it from her mother’s purse. The teen contacted Kelly, and the two allegedly got together periodically and had sex for a year, according to the documents.
Another accuser was 16 when she met Kelly during his 2008 child pornography trial and he gave her an autograph, according to the documents. The pair later met at the artist’s Chicago apartment where they allegedly had sex and Kelly allegedly choking her and spitting on her.
In 2003, a 24-year-old hairdresser intended to braid the singer’s hair, but instead the R & B star allegedly tried to force her to perform oral sex on him and allegedly spit in her face, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors also said in court documents that they reviewed videotapes depicting Kelly having sex with a 14-year old girl, who states her age on the videos multiple times.
‘Surviving R. Kelly’
Kelly’s supporters Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, who are living with the singer, attended the hearing. Parents of both women claimed in the Lifetime series Surviving R. Kelly, that Kelly is holding their daughters against the women’s wills. The three-part documentary chronicled decades of troubling allegations and brought renewed media attention and scrutiny on the singer.
The women initially sat one row in front of Azriel’s father, Angelo Clary, who tried to speak with them. They both ignored him, never acknowledging him or even turning around. Then they changed seats, moving one row ahead to avoid him. Avenatti, who said he has six clients related to Kelly, comforted Azriel’s mother after they were rejected by their daughter.
Several other people — men and women — stood in the last two rows in support of Kelly.
Jerhonda Pace — one of Kelly’s accusers — was also in attendance.
Sentencing range of 3 to 7 years
The alleged criminal behavior dates back to May 1998 and continued until January 2010, said Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx announced at a press conference on Friday. The indictment details accounts of vaginal and oral penetration of and ejaculation onto the victims by the singer.
“Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony with a sentencing range of 3-7 years and is probationable,” Foxx’s office wrote in a statement.
Avenatti left the courthouse on Saturday in a black SUV seeming optimistic that Kelly will “spend the rest of his life” in prison.
“With a conviction in this case, he is never going to walk free another day of his life especially with a mandatory minimum sentence,” said Avenatti.
‘I think all the women are liars’
Late Friday, Kelly’s lawyer called the accusers liars.
“I think all the women are lying,” Greenberg told reporters at a press conference. “This has become, ‘Hey, R. Kelly — I can say R. Kelly did something’ — boom.”
Greenberg also said that in indicting Kelly, Foxx caved into public pressure.
“I had a discussion with the state’s attorney’s office earlier this week [and] we were supposed to meet next week and have a discussion about what they had,” he said. “I was gonna be allowed to address what they had, then they just decided to indict him today for whatever reason. I suspect this is succumbing to public pressure.”
Greenberg also claimed one of the victims is the same person in a 2003 child pornography case in which Kelly was acquitted in 2008.
“One of the cases seems to be a rehash he was acquitted for. Double jeopardy should apply to everyone,” Greenberg said.
During the hearing prosecutors told the judge there is no case of double jeopardy involving the victim from Kelly’s previous acquittal because “it is not the same video.”
Kelly is also facing at least three different federal investigations including at least one focusing on his alleged relationships with underage girls, who may have been trafficked, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.
The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the IRS have opened investigations after Surviving R. Kelly, which aired on Lifetime starting Jan. 3. All three agencies declined to comment. HSI is looking at potential crimes involving sex trafficking and child exploitation. The investigations were first reported by The New Yorker, by Jim DeRogatis, who has been reporting on R. Kelly for almost 20 years.
On Thursday, two more women, Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington, said they were victims of R. Kelly. Their attorney, Gloria Allred, said the women spoke with federal prosecutors.
“Yesterday, I indicated that my two clients who held a press conference here in New York would be speaking to law enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and they did in fact have that interview,” Allred told WABC.
In addition, Michael Avenatti, who is representing two alleged victims of Kelly, said he gave Cook County prosecutors a video depicting the singer allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old.
“Earlier this month we uncovered and recovered a video tape of over 40 minutes in length,” Avenatti said at a press conference Friday. “We promptly brought it to the attention of Ms. Foxx and others in her office. This tape leaves no question as to whether R. Kelly is guilty of multiple sexual illegal acts against a 14-year-old girl. The tape was shot in the late ’90s, approximately 1999, [and] it depicts two separate scenes shot on two separate days within Mr. Kelly’s residence at the time.”
“Repeatedly on the video both the victim and Mr. Kelly refer to the victim’s age as being 14,” Avenatti said. “That occurs in excess of 10 separate times on the video, both the victim and Mr. Kelly can be heard referencing her age.”
Greenberg said he hadn’t seen the video, but denied the allegation.
“Unfortunately, the state’s attorney now succumbed to public pressure, to pressure from grandstanders like Michael Avenatti,” Greenberg said.
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