Chicago — R. Kelly turned himself in to Chicago police late Friday, hours after Illinois prosecutors announced he had been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Kelly is accused of abusing four victims, at least three of whom were allegedly underage, in incidents that date back to 1998, according the indictment. The most recent alleged abuse was in 2010.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet Friday night that Kelly would be fingerprinted, photographed and processed. He will remain in police custody and appear in court on Saturday, Guglielmi said. He will be in court for a bond hearing, CBS Chicago reported.
Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg said Friday evening the R&B star is “shell-shocked” and “extraordinarily disappointed and depressed” by the sex abuse charges. Greenberg said he offered to sit down with prosecutors to discuss “why these charges are baseless,” but they refused, the Associated Press reported. He said Kelly maintains his innocence and looks forward to being acquitted at trial.
According to court records, Kelly’s first court date has been scheduled for March 8. If he is convicted on all 10 counts, a judge could decide that the sentences run one after the other, making it possible that he receives a sentence of up to 70 years behind bars, the Associated Press reported. Probation is another option under the statute, said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Kelly has for decades faced allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls, but had denied them. Greenberg has maintained the singer’s innocence and said that he never knowingly had sex with underage girls.
“I have a client who hasn’t committed any crime, so I don’t have a lot of work to do as a criminal defense lawyer,” Greenberg told CBS News last week.
Last month, Surviving R. Kelly.”of sexual assault or domestic violence by Kelly to come forward after the “deeply, deeply disturbing” allegations outlined in the Lifetime docu-series “
“In order to have an investigation … we have to have victims and witnesses who are willing to come forth with whatever information that they have,” Foxx said.
The docu-series, which aired on Lifetime, features 50 interviews, including accuser Jerhonda Pace; the parents of one of Kelly’s alleged victims; Kelly’s ex-wife, Andrea Kelly; ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones and brothers Carey and Bruce Kelly.
Foxx said she saw some of the docu-series.
“I was sickened,” she said. “I was sickened by the allegations. I was sickened as a survivor. I was sickened as a mother. I’m sickened as a prosecutor.”
After the charges were announced, “Surviving R. Kelly” producer dream hampton on Twitter said: “The survivors are heroes.”
The state’s attorney’s office identified the victims only by initials. The first, H.W., was involved in incidents between May 26, 1998 and May 25, 1999, according to the state’s attorney’s office. The grand jury returned an indictment of four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse related to H.W., who was under 17.
The second, R.L., was involved in an incident between Sept. 26, 1998 and Sept. 25, 2001. The grand jury returned an indictment of two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse related to R.L., who was also under 17, according to the state’s attorney’s office. The indictment does not list an age for the third victim, L.C., who was involved in an incident on Feb. 18, 2003.
The grand jury returned an indictment of one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse related to that incident, which the indictment said happened during the course of an attempted criminal sexual assault. The fourth victim, J.P., was involved in incidents between May 1, 2009 and Jan. 31, 2010. The grand jury returned an indictment of three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse related to J.P., who was under 17, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
Last week, a law enforcement source told CBS News that prosecutors in Chicago havethat purportedly shows Kelly engaging in sex acts a 14-year-old girl.
Lawyer Michael Avenatti turned the video over to the Cook County state’s attorney and told CBS News he got the tape from someone who knows both Kelly and the alleged victim “extremely well.” He described it as a “bombshell of epic proportions.” CBS News has not viewed any of the footage, but Avenatti said he and Illinois prosecutors are certain Kelly is the man on the tape.
“After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R. Kelly has arrived,” Avenatti tweeted Friday.
Avenatti, who was approached by an individual seeking representation in April, said he received the tape earlier this month. He claims R. Kelly’s voice can be heard on the recording and that a telltale mole on his back is clearly visible.
CBS News has confirmed the video was recently turned over to the Cook County state’s attorney in Chicago, where Kelly lives.
Speaking at a press conference after the charges were announced Friday, Avenatti said that the girl in the video he turned over to Foxx’s office is one of the victims listed in the indictment. He said he represents at least one of the four victims, but wouldn’t say whether the victim he represents is the girl he says is seen in the video.
Avenatti says he represents six clients, including two victims, two parents and two people he called whistleblowers who he said could be described as “knowing R. Kelly and being within his inner circle for the better part of 25 years.”
Avenatti said the video he turned over to Foxx’s office shows two separate scenes from two different days at Kelly’s home sometime around 1999. He said it shows Kelly having sex with the girl and urinating on her. He said it also shows Kelly and the girl watching another video on a television, also apparently of Kelly having sex with a young girl. He says both Kelly and the victim state in excess of 10 times in the video that the girl is 14 years old.
“This tape leaves no question as to whether R. Kelly is guilty of multiple sexual illegal acts against a 14-year-old girl,” Kelly said.
He said he has another video and is in the process of obtaining a third, but wouldn’t detail what was in the two videos.
Avenatti also said he has evidence that Kelly and others close to him engaged in obstruction of justice to “rig” the outcome of Kelly’s 2008 trial. Kelly was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008 after disputing he was the man seen in a grainy video having sex with an underage girl. Avenatti said the tape in that case is different from the one he provided. He did not say whether the new tape showed a different alleged victim.
Avenatti said Kelly had over 10 “enablers” over the years he said “turned a blind eye” to the alleged abuse, and Avenatti vowed to investigate them.
He praised Foxx and her office for their professionalism and said he expects Kelly to be convicted.
“He should never walk free another day in his life as a result of the over two decades of abuse he dished out and participated in time and time again,” Avenatti said.
On Thursday, two new Kelly accusers spoke out publicly with their lawyer, Gloria Allred. The women, Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington, said Kelly picked them out of a crowd at a Baltimore party in the 1990s when both were underage, asked them back to his hotel and exposed himself. Scaff said she engaged in sexual activity with Kelly, but said she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and didn’t have the capacity to consent.
Allred said the two women planned to meet with the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, the AP reports. She reportedly didn’t say why she had chosen that jurisdiction for alleged crimes in Maryland.
“The days of running and hiding his victimization of women from the criminal justice system have now come to an end for R. Kelly,” Allred said in a statement.
Jericka Duncan contributed to this report.