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Sunday 24 March 2019

Judge sets one million dollar bail for R Kelly

Kelly was charged on Friday with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse.

R Kelly turned himself in to police (ABC7 Chicago/WLS/AP)
R Kelly turned himself in to police (ABC7 Chicago/WLS/AP)

By Michael Tarm, Associated Press

R&B singer R Kelly has appeared in court in Chicago where a judge has set bail at one million dollars (£766,000).

The judge at Saturday’s hearing, Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr, is the same judge who presided over Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s bail hearing earlier this week.

Kelly was charged on Friday with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four female victims, including three who were between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time.

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R Kelly is photographed during booking at a police station in Chicago (Chicago Police Dept/AP)

Cook County state’s attorney Kim Foxx says the alleged abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade.

Kelly was tried and acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

The 52-year-old Grammy winner’s lawyer said Friday that he was confident Kelly would be vindicated.

Judge Fitzgerald Lyke Jr said during Saturday’s hearing that the bail amount equalled 250,000 dollars for each of the four people he is charged with sexually abusing.

He called the allegations against Kelly “disturbing” during the hearing.

The singer stared at the floor while the judge was speaking and looked dejected.

Kelly had spent the night in jail before being taken to the court.

He stood with his hands behind his back and said to the judge: “How are you?”

Kelly’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg, said his client was not a flight risk and told the judge: “Contrary to the song, Mr Kelly doesn’t like to fly.”

One of Kelly’s best-known hits is I Believe I Can Fly.

The bail requires Kelly to post 100,000 dollars (£76,000) to be released.

A prosecutor told the judge that Kelly met one of the four accusers at his 2008 trial on child pornography charges.

The two met when he gave her an autograph, and the alleged abuse occurred between 2009 and 2010.

The accuser gave law enforcement a shirt that had Kelly’s DNA on it, the prosecutor said.

Kelly has been dogged for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves.

After the hearing, Greenberg told reporters that he thought all four of the accusers were lying.

“He did not force anyone to have sex. He’s a rock star. He doesn’t have to have non-consensual sex,” Greenberg said.

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Michael Avenatti, who is representing an alleged R Kelly victim, speaks to reporters (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times/AP)

Lawyer Michael Avenatti said it was “outrageous” that R Kelly’s lawyer asserted that the four accusers were lying about being sexually abused by the singer.

Avenatti, who said he represents two alleged Kelly victims and said he gave gave prosecutors new video evidence of Kelly having sex with an underage girl, said on Saturday that “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure 2019 is not a repeat of 2008”.

He was referring to Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial.

Press Association

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