CHICAGO (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Chicago prosecutors have charged R&B star R. Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse, according to media reports citing court records.
Friday’s charges come after years of allegations directed at Kelly, including one out of Dallas, accusing the now 52-year-old of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls. Through his lawyers, he has consistently denied them.
Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, is one of the top-selling recording artists of all time. He has won multiple Grammys, including for his hit-song, “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Jurors acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges at a 2008 trial. Those charges stemmed from a video prosecutors alleged showed Kelly having sex with a girl as young as 13.
Attorney Michael Avenatti said last week that he recently gave Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of Kelly having sex with an underage girl.
Avenatti told The Associated Press that’s one piece of information he will present at a news conference Friday in Chicago.
Kelly has denied allegations of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years. His attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
Avenatti said last week he gave the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office a videotape he says shows Kelly having sex with an underage girl.
On Thursday, two women said Kelly picked them out of a crowd at Baltimore after-party in the mid-1990s and had sex with one of them, who was 16.
The multi-platinum recording artist was also at the center of a criminal inquiry last year in Dallas, facing a claim of assault for allegedly infecting a woman with a sexually transmitted disease.
The civil attorney for the 20-year old Dallas woman said the Dallas Police Department interviewed his client in the gathering of evidence against the R&B singer.
“I know my client provided information today to police on unlawful restraint, text messages, videos and photos to solidify the case,” attorney Lee Merritt said in 2018. Merritt’s client, whose name was not released, claimed she was involved in a relationship with Kelly, after meeting him in Dallas in 2017.
The woman, according to Merritt, told the story of Kelly grooming her to join a sexual cult. He said the entertainer kept her in locked rooms and demanded control over various facets of her life.
“The tactic of keeping people in solitude is a known tactic to weaken their inhibitions. It’s a crime called unlawful restraint,” Merritt said.
In a published report with the Washington Post, a representative for Kelly denied all allegations. But Merritt said his client is a victim of criminal acts, and she believes others are also.
“The crime starts with the STD. Under state law, you can’t knowingly transmit an STD to an individual without informing them. She was being groomed to be part of a sexual cult. R Kelly is a honed predator, someone honing predatory skills for 25 years and preying on younger females,” Merritt claimed.
The criminal case was transferred in January to a court in New York.
Numerous women have publicly shared similar stories of being locked in rooms and forced into sexual situations in the Lifetime series Surviving R. Kelly that debuted in January.