UPDATED Feb. 22 at 9:34 p.m. ET: R. Kelly turned himself in to Chicago police Friday night, according to the Associated Press.
UPDATED Feb. 22 at 6:40 p.m. ET: Early Friday evening, Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg told the Associated Press that the singer was “shell-shocked” and “extraordinarily disappointed and depressed” by the indictment and that he planned to turn himself in tonight. Greenberg said that he offered to discuss “why these charges are baseless” with prosecutors before they were filed, but they refused. He added that Kelly maintains his innocence and looks forward to being acquitted at trial.
R. Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four victims, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced at a press conference on Friday. She went into detail on each count, describing incidents of alleged sexual abuse that took place between May 26, 1998, and Jan. 31, 2010. Foxx finished the conference by announcing that Kelly was expected to appear in bond court on Saturday afternoon.
Early Friday evening, Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg told the Associated Press that the singer was “shell-shocked” and “extraordinarily disappointed and depressed” by the indictment and that he planned to turn himself in tonight. Greenberg said that he offered to discuss “why these charges are baseless” with prosecutors before they were filed, but they refused. He added that Kelly maintains his innocence and looks forward to being acquitted at trial.
The charges come in the wake of an explosive Lifetime documentary full of sexual assault accusations against the iconic R&B singer, as well as reports that a new tape of Kelly having sex with an underage girl has been given to authorities. Kelly and his lawyers have always denied any wrongdoing on his part. He was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.
Accusations against Kelly have been well known for years now, dating back to Chappelle’s Show jokes about the infamous tape that allegedly showed Kelly peeing on an underage girl (both Kelly and the girl in question denied it was them on the tape). But Surviving R. Kelly brought the accusations back into the mainstream in a big way, thanks to dozens of interviews with women who say they were abused by the singer and many other people who spent time around Kelly over the past few decades. In the wake of the documentary series, Kelly was dropped by his longtime music label, Sony’s RCA Records, and past collaborators like Lady Gaga apologized for ever working with him. Most notably of all, in the wake of the documentary Foxx made a public call for victims and people with evidence against Kelly to come forward.
Things kicked up a notch last week when attorney Michael Avenatti (best known as the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with President Donald Trump) claimed that he had given a new, previously unseen tape of Kelly to Chicago authorities. CNN claimed to have seen the tape in question, describing it as lasting 42 minutes and 45 seconds, and containing two scenes, one “apparently” in a living room and the other in a bathroom: “A naked man who appears to be R. Kelly is seen performing multiple sex acts with the girl. She is heard calling him ‘daddy’ multiple times.” CNN also wrote that both the girl and “the man who appears to be R. Kelly” referred to her body as being 14 years old.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, shot down these reports at the time, saying neither he nor Kelly had been contacted by law enforcement, and further suggesting that Avenatti sharing such a tape with CNN would be a felony. “Mr. Kelly denies that he has engaged in any illegal conduct, of any kind whatsoever,” Greenberg said in a statement to EW. Nevertheless, longtime R. Kelly reporter Jim DeRogatis wrote in The New Yorker last week that “a videotape from the R&B superstar R. Kelly’s past may soon lead to his indictment in Illinois, according to a senior law-enforcement official.” It turns out he was right.
Greenberg did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment on the new charges, but told the Sun-Times on early Friday afternoon that he had still not been notified that his client had been charged. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office has also not responded to EW’s request for comment.
“It’s over. After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived,” Avenatti triumphantly announced in a series of tweets. He also said he would be holding a press conference in Chicago on Friday afternoon, in the wake of Foxx’s announcements.
This story is developing.
- Michael Avenatti says he has given a previously-unseen R. Kelly sex tape to Chicago authorities
- R. Kelly reportedly dropped by RCA Records after explosive Lifetime documentary
- Lady Gaga apologizes for ‘twisted’ R. Kelly collaboration, vows never to work with him again
- Surviving R. Kelly producer wanted to show viewers ‘irrefutable evidence’ against the singer