R. Kelly is indicted on federal charges of child pornography and transporting women and girls for sex
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 7/12/2019, 12:59 p.m.
By Don Lemon, Sonia Moghe and Christina Maxouris, CNN
(CNN) -- R. Kelly faces federal charges Friday after two indictments allege that he made videos of himself having sex with minors, paid minors and their families to lie to investigators about allegations against him, and exposed one woman to a sexually transmitted disease without her knowledge.
He was arrested in Chicago Thursday night as he walked his dog, sources told CNN.
A five-count indictment in the Eastern District of New York accused Kelly, 52, of sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, forced labor and violations of the Mann Act involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity from 1999 to the present.
The Mann Act makes it a crime to transport anyone across state lines "for the purpose of prostitution" or any "sexual activity which is a criminal offense," according to the Department of Justice website.
"R. Kelly's Enterprise was not only engaged in music; as alleged, for two decades the enterprise at the direction of R. Kelly preyed upon young women and teenagers whose dreams of meeting a superstar, soon turned into a nightmare of rape, child pornography and forced labor. The musician turned predator allegedly used his stardom to coax some victims into nefarious sex acts while certain members of his enterprise calculatingly facilitated the aberrant conduct, " said Homeland Security Special Agent-in-Charge Angel Melendez said in a statement.
Kelly has vehemently denied allegations of sexual misconduct in the past.
The accusations in the New York indictment detail alleged incidents in four states: Illinois, Connecticut, California and New York. There are five Jane Does referenced throughout -- including three minors. Kelly is the only defendant in the indictment filed July 10.
The indictment also alleges he exposed at least one individual to a sexually transmitted disease without disclosing it.
Also on Friday, a 13-count indictment against Kelly was released in the Northern District of Illinois.
In it, he was charged with one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, four counts of producing child pornography, five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
That indictment alleges Kelly made child pornography with as many as four girls under the age of 18 and that he and associates obstructed justice by paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to not cooperate with authorities, give false testimony to a grand jury and to buy back videos of sexual activity.
Kelly's lawyer says he will be vindicated
Kelly's attorney said the allegations appear to be the "same as the conduct previously alleged against R. Kelly in his current state indictment and his former state charges."
"He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain," attorney Steve Greenberg said Friday in a statement. "Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue to making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him."
Kelly had been out on bond from state charges in Illinois.
The singer is being held Friday in the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, according to US Bureau of Prisons records. He will appear Friday afternoon for a removal hearing at the federal courthouse in Chicago and be arraigned at a later date in Brooklyn, according to a statement from the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The New York Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations and other federal partners assisted in Thursday's arrest, a law enforcement source said.
R. Kelly had 'rules,' indictment says
Authorities allege Kelly and other members of "the Enterprise" -- described in the New York complaint as Kelly and his managers, bodyguards, drivers, personal assistants and members of his entourage -- arranged for the women and girls to travel out of town to see Kelly on occasion, including at concerts.
When the women arrived at the lodging they were usually provided with instructions, and Kelly created numerous rules that his sexual partners were required to follow: They could not leave their rooms without Kelly's permission, including to eat or go to the bathroom; they had to wear baggy clothing when not accompanied by Kelly; they could not look at other men and they had to address Kelly as "Daddy," the indictment said.
It's alleged Kelly and his associates obtained sensitive information about members and associates of "the enterprise" to maintain control over them, demanded absolute "commitment" to Kelly, and isolated women and girls from friends and family, making them dependent on Kelly for their financial well being.
He's faced abuse allegations for decades
Until Thursday, Kelly was free on a $1 million bond set in February.
He has faced accusations of abuse, manipulation and inappropriate encounters with girls and young women for more than two decades.
He was charged in February with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims, including three who prosecutors say were underage girls. The charges span from 1998 to 2010. Kelly pleaded not guilty.
He posted the $100,000 bail and left Chicago's Cook County Jail less than three days after he was arrested. He was arrested and jailed again in March for failure to pay his ex-wife child support of $161,000.
In late May, a grand jury indicted him on 11 more charges pertaining to one of the four accusers, including aggravated criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony; and criminal sexual assault, a Class 1 felony. A person convicted of Class X felonies can get up to 30 years in prison under Illinois law.
'Where's my daughter at?'
Kelly's publicist, Darrell Johnson, was taking questions at a news conference in Atlanta Friday morning when the family of Joycelyn Savage, 23, one of Kelly's girlfriends, started yelling, "Where's my daughter at, answer that question!"
Timothy Savage, Joycelyn Savage's father, said Friday that he hasn't seen his daughter since 2016 and hasn't spoken to her since a July 2017 conference call, in which she asked them to stop trying to contact her.
"We want answers and we want them now," Timothy Savage said.
He and other parents allege Kelly has controlled their daughters' lives and manipulated them into cutting off contact with the outside world, including their families.
"I know nothing," Johnson said to the family. He promised to meet with them privately after the news conference.
Johnson said Kelly is innocent and that the indictments were a rehash of previous charges.
"This is nothing new. We expected this to happen," Johnson said.
This story has been updated to include specific charges from the two indictments.