CHICAGO — R&B singer R. Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 14 and 16.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx alleges the incidents happened between 1998 and 2010.
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Kelly, 52, turned himself in to Chicago police at the 1st District station, 1718 S. State St., about 8:15 p.m. Friday. The singer, clad in a puffy blue coat, waded through throngs of reporters before police led him inside with his hands pinned behind his back.
Kelly will appear in bond court Saturday.
Speaking outside the station Friday, defense attorney Steve Greenberg didn't mince words: "I think all the women are lying. This has become ... 'Hey, I can say R. Kelly did something. Boom.'"
Kelly was previously acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008. A 6-part Lifetime documentary called “Surviving R. Kelly” recently catapulted the singer back into the spotlight. In the show, alleged victims and Kelly’s close friends accuse the singer of abuse, predatory behavior and pedophilia.
"Everything in that documentary was a rehash of things they’ve known for years," Greenberg said. "The police have investigated, the prosecutors investigated. The jury heard [it], and everybody rejected it."
Last month, Foxx made a public plea for victims to come forward, calling the allegations against Kelly "sickening."
High-profile attorney Michael Avenatti previously said he gave prosecutors a VHS tape that shows Kelly having sex with an underage girl. On Friday, Avenatti said that girl is one of the four victims Cook County prosecutors list in their indictment. The victims are identified only by initials.
Avenatti said the quality of the VHS tape is significantly higher than that of video shown at Kelly’s 2008 trail. The attorney also said he is aware of two other tapes — and already acquired one of them.
Each of the 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse that prosecutors filed against Kelly carries a possible sentence of three to seven years in prison. Probation is also an option.
Greenberg on Friday said, "Mr. Kelly is strong. He's got a lot of support, and he's going to be vindicated on all these charges."
The attorney pointed to the women featured in "Surviving R. Kelly": "Everyone in the documentary — they're going on a 'Surviving R. Kelly' tour. Have you ever heard of anything like that? Getting paid, selling tickets. ... Every woman in that documentary had a song they were now going to release, a book they were now going to release, a deal they were now going to do. Everybody’s trying to profit off of R. Kelly. 'Hey, I met R. Kelly once. He looked at me the wrong way. Boom. Money!'"
Avenatti on Friday tweeted, “It’s over,” and, “After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R. Kelly has arrived.”
The attorney said he is representing six clients with allegations against Kelly: two victims, two parents and two whistleblowers. Avenatti launched his investigation after a concerned parent contacted him in April.
At a news conference Friday, Avenatti called out “enablers” in Kelly’s inner circle — saying producers, managers and others close to Kelly should be criminally charged.
Former Chicago Sun-Times reporters Jim DeRogatis and Abdon Pallasch in 2000 were the first to report sexual abuse allegations against Kelly. The pair pursued the story doggedly for years and covered Kelly’s 2008 acquittal.
“Had the judge made different rulings, [had] the trial had been handled better,” Pallasch said, “there are a whole lot of victims that would not have been victimized.”
DeRogatis reflected on decades of allegations: "We failed young black women in Chicago for 30 years."
In 2017, two women launched the #muterkelly movement, leading to canceled concerts across the U.S. and in Kelly's hometown. Under mounting pressure, R. Kelly’s record label dropped him.
READ: R. Kelly indictment documents on Scribd