The singer, 52, arrived in court Thursday morning wearing a light gray suit and accompanied by his team for an arraignment on the charges brought forward last week by the Cook County State’s Attorney Office.
The total number of charges against him in Illinois has been brought to 21, including four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. Each one carries a maximum prison term of 30 years.
Prosecutors did not ask the judge to raise the bond amount for Kelly during Thursday’s hearing in Cook County court.
Kelly stood and listened to the judge describe the charges in a gray suit, with his hands folded in front of him. When the judged asked if he understood, Kelly, responded, “Yes, sir.”
Kelly exited the courthouse about 20 minutes later without speaking to reporters. His lawyer, Chicago-based criminal defense attorney Steve Greenberg, echoed the sentiments he expressed last week: The charges are based on the “same case, same facts, same bond and same evidence” and therefore he expects it to yield “the same results” in Kelly’s favor.
Kelly pleaded not guilty in February to 10 related counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving three girls and one woman over roughly 10 years starting in the late 1990s.
Attorney Michael Avenatti told the Associated Press last week that the new charges pertain to a woman who was one of the three minors in the group of four women alleging abuse in February. Her initials are listed as J.P.
Greenberg issued a statement last week from an unverified Twitter account: “#RKelly was NOT charged with a new case. He was recharged in an existing case, same alleged victim and time (a decade ago) It changes nothing.”
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, which published the new court documents last week, the counts are as follows: four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault by force, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a victim who was between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time of her assault. Three of the four women from the original indictment were minors at the time.
For about two decades, Robert Sylvester Kelly has faced multiple allegations of sexual abuse of women and girls, including sex with underage girls and accusations that he trapped female fans in a “sex cult” that cut them off from their families and subjected them to degrading abuse.
He has been charged with a sex crime only once, in Chicago, and was acquitted in 2008. Then, in January, a six-part film began airing on Lifetime, “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which women came forward on camera to accuse Kelly of shocking abuse.
Saying she was “sickened” by the allegations, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx called a press conference in January to solicit accusers and witnesses to come forward. In February, she announced the state indictments of Kelly.
Soon after, suggestions emerged that Kelly also was under parallel investigations by federal authorities in Illinois and in New York.