CHICAGO — A Cook County judge Saturday set bail at $1 million for R. Kelly, the Chicago R&B singer charged with sexually abusing a woman and three teenage girls.
Prosecutors at the Leighton Criminal Court Building laid out their case against Kelly on Saturday — detailing abuse allegations that span 12 years and involve four separate victims.
Kelly met one of the victims at her 16th birthday dinner, prosecutors said. Another, also 16, asked for his autograph outside a court hearing for his 2008 child pornography trial.
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Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. called the accusations “disturbing” before setting bail at $1 million. Kelly, 52, needs to post $100,000, or 10 percent of the total bail amount, to go free. A 9 p.m. deadline to do so came and passed Saturday, meaning Kelly will spend the night in Cook County Jail.
Should he be released, the judge ordered, Kelly is banned from contact with minors. He must also surrender his passport.
Defense attorney Steve Greenberg maintained Kelly’s innocence Saturday: “He didn’t force anyone to have sex. … He’s a rock star. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex.”
According to prosecutors, Kelly met the first of the four victims in this case in May 1998 as the girl celebrated her 16th birthday at a restaurant. Kelly’s manager gave the girl a business card with the singer’s phone number on it.
The girl soon visited Kelly’s Near West Side studio at 865 N. Larrabee St., where Kelly had sex with the girl despite “difficulty maintaining an erection,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said. The teen was sent home with an envelope of money.
Prosecutors allege similar encounters happened monthly for a year.
Foxx said the second victim in this case was 14 years old when she was videotaped having sex with Kelly at his Olympia Fields home. A witness was asked to retrieve the tape in 2001 and later gave it to authorities. In the video, prosecutors said, the girl repeatedly tells Kelly she’s 14.
The third victim was a 24-year-old hairdresser who worked for Kelly in February 2003 when he attacked her inside his Near West Studio, prosecutors allege.
Kelly is accused of trying to force the woman to perform oral sex before masturbating in front of her, ejaculating on her and spitting in her face multiple times.
Semen on the woman’s shirt was a match to Kelly’s DNA, according to Illinois State Police.
Prosecutors allege Kelly met the final victim in this case, a 16-year-old girl, outside a Chicago court hearing in 2008. Kelly was on trial for child pornography at the time; he was later acquitted of all charges. The girl wanted Kelly’s autograph.
Foxx said the two had a sexual relationship that lasted several months. Kelly is accused of spitting on the girl, slapping her and choking her.
Kelly is charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Each carries a possible sentence of three to seven years; probation without prison time is also an option.
“There’s this whole hashtag movement,” Greenberg said Saturday. “Just because someone says something now, it’s 2019, it doesn’t make them credible. And just because someone said something now and they haven’t said it in a long time, it doesn’t make them incredible. We have to look at the evidence. We have to look at what happened.”
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. 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.
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.”
READ: Bond proffer from R. Kelly hearing [Warning: Graphic language may be disturbing to some]
WATCH: Prosecutors detail allegations against R. Kelly
WATCH: Defense attorney Steve Greenberg speaks after R. Kelly bond hearing
WATCH: Attorney Michael Avenatti speaks after R. Kelly bond hearing