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UPDATE 2-R&B singer R. Kelly arrested in Chicago on federal sex-crime charges

Reuters | Chicago | Updated: 12-07-2019 19:41 IST | Created: 12-07-2019 19:36 IST
UPDATE 2-R&B singer R. Kelly arrested in Chicago on federal sex-crime charges
Image Credit: Flickr/ Lean-Op

Grammy Award-winning singer R. Kelly has been arrested in Chicago on federal sex crime charges after having been indicted there and in New York, his lawyer and a law enforcement source said on Friday.

The law enforcement source, who requested anonymity because the indictments were still under seal, declined to characterize the nature of the charges. But Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, said the federal charges appear to be "largely the same" as state sex assault charges Kelly currently faces and child pornography charges for which he was acquitted in 2008.

"Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old," Greenberg wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. Kelly, 52, an R&B singer, was arrested as he was walking his dog on Thursday night by New York police detectives and Department of Homeland Security investigators, Greenberg and the law enforcement source said. He is expected to appear before a judge in Chicago later on Friday, the source said.

"He's expected to be arraigned today in federal court in Chicago and at later date in Brooklyn," the source added. Kelly faces a 13-count federal indictment in Chicago and five counts in Brooklyn, the source said, adding that both indictments remain under seal.

Last month, the singer pleaded not guilty to 11 new felony counts of sexual assault and abuse at a Cook County, Illinois, court hearing, after state prosecutors expanded an indictment against him. The R&B singer, who Greenberg said was aware of the federal investigation, has vehemently denied abuse allegations for decades.

"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," Greenberg said. The Cook County charges involve alleged abuse of a victim between the ages of 13 and 16. The accusations center on someone identified only as J.P. and the crimes are alleged to have taken place between May 2009 and January 2010.

Kelly could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on those charges. In February, Kelly pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted three teenage girls and a fourth woman.

The charges were brought after seven women, including his former wife, appeared on a Lifetime television documentary and accused him of emotional and sexual abuse. The singer, known for such hits as "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Bump N' Grind," spent a weekend in jail on the sex charges before being released on $100,000 bail on Feb. 25.


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