R. Kelly held without bond following Tuesday's arraignment on federal sex crime charges

ByJessica D'Onofrio, Sarah Schulte via WABC logo
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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R. Kelly was ordered held without bond following an arraignment hearing in federal court in Chicago Tuesday.

CHICAGO -- R. Kelly was ordered held without bond following an arraignment hearing in federal court in Chicago Tuesday. He is charged with 13 new counts of federal sex crimes involving minors and obstruction of justice.

Last week, the singer was indicted on multiple federal charges in Chicago and New York, where a separate indictment returned in Brooklyn accuses him of racketeering and sex trafficking.

RELATED: R Kelly facing charges in New York City

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit with his ankles shackled, the only words Kelly spoke were "yes sir" when he told the judge he understood the charges against him.

Federal Judge Harry Leinenweber called the charges "extraordinarily serious" as he denied Kelly's bond.

Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg said he had been expecting to get the singer released on bond Tuesday, and said they are now evaluating their options.

Kelly has been in jail since he was arrested while walking his dog last week near his Trump Tower apartment in Chicago.

Greenberg tried to argue his client is not a flight risk because he is broke, has always shown up for court cases in the past and, according to Greenberg, does not like to fly. But federal prosecutors called the 52-year-old an extreme danger to humans, especially minor girls.

As part of the indictment filed in Chicago, Kelly has been 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.

Federal prosecutors allege Kelly sexually abused a dozen women and girls, some as young as middle school. Prosecutors also argued Kelly is a serious risk for obstruction of justice. He is accused of paying off witnesses in his 2008 case and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover sex tapes.

"He's facing charges that, when you look at the Cook County case and two federal cases, he's really looking at life in prison if he is convicted on all of these," said criminal defense attorney Andrew Weisberg. "I think he becomes too much of a flight risk in theory. Also, I've heard he may be a continuing danger to the public. I think for those reasons, the judge is going to deny his right to post bail."

Two of Kelly's girlfriends were there to support him in court. Their parents claim they have been brainwashed by Kelly.

In the second indictment out of Brooklyn, New York, Kelly is charged with racketeering, including acts of coercing and transporting minor girls to engage in sex, spanning two decades in New York, Connecticut, Illinois and California. Prosecutors said he was at the center of an "enterprise" to recruit women and underage girls.

RELATED: R. Kelly arrested by NYPD in Chicago on federal sex crime charges including child pornography, obstruction of justice

Kelly is already facing sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors earlier this year. He was taken into custody in February, accused of sexually abusing three girls and a woman in Illinois.

In May, Cook County prosecutors added 11 more sex-related counts. Kelly has maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to the Illinois charges.

Previous coverage:

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