Sunday 18 August 2019

Singer R Kelly denied bail on charges of sex crimes stretching back over two decades

R Kelly is being held in a Chicago jail (Amr Alfiky/AP)
R Kelly is being held in a Chicago jail (Amr Alfiky/AP)

Barbara Smith

R&B singer R Kelly has pleaded not guilty to a raft of federal charges accusing him of running a scheme to force women and girls to provide sex for himself and others, and a judge ordered that he remain in jail without bail.

US District Judge Harry Leinenweber in Chicago said the main reason he was denying Kelly bail was obstruction of justice charges, part of a multi-count indictment unveiled on Friday in Chicago and New York.

Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffed at a hearing in federal court, R Kelly entered his plea of not guilty and answered "yes, sir," to all of Leinenweber's questions. He made no eye contact with supporters in the courtroom.

"Kelly is an extreme danger to the community, especially teenage girls," federal prosecutor Angel Kroll argued. "Detention is just the starting point."

Azriel Clary, left, and Joycelyn Savage, who recently lived with Kelly, walk into court for his hearing (Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Prosecutors brought 18 indictments against the Grammy award-winning artist with allegations that he preyed on teenagers and young women, forcing them into sexual acts.

Kelly and his entourage are accused of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, and using intimidation and threats to keep the girls and women under his control and buy their silence over two decades.

The singer's lawyer Steve Greenberg has said the charges stem from "decades-old" conduct and were already part of an existing Illinois sexual assault case or previous allegations of which Kelly was acquitted.

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