Already facing a host of charges in Illinois for his alleged sexual misconduct with underage, singer R. Kelly’s legal situation is getting a lot worse.
Last week, federal prosecutors in Chicago and Brooklyn unveiled separate indictments on 18 total charges against Kelly. The Chicago indictment alleges that Kelly had sexual contact with five underage girls, videotaped some of those encounters, and bribed the girls and their families to stay silent. The Brooklyn indictment alleges kidnapping, forced labor, and sexual exploitation of underage girls.
Free on bond since February, when he was charged in a Cook County court, a federal judge this week ordered Kelly held without bond. While Kelly’s attorney argued that his client would have fled the country already if he was going to do so, prosecutors called him a danger to the community and a flight risk.
The indictments allege that he made the girls call him “Daddy” and ask permission for doing things like eating or using the bathroom. The indictments also accuse two of Kelly’s staff of forcing the girls to take lie detector tests when some of the infamous video tapes disappeared. The indictments state that Kelly used a combination of “physical abuse, violence, threats of violence, blackmail and other controlling behaviors,” to keep them from going to authorities.
The Brooklyn indictment features a charge of racketeering, a tool that prosecutors often use in cases related to drug gangs or the mafia. The charge essentially means that prosecutors are alleging R. Kelly and his associates were running a criminal enterprise to find and groom underage girls and then buy their silence.
A conviction on the charges in the Brooklyn indictment could see the singer facing decades behind bars. The case is sure to generate more headlines as it makes its way through the courts. Kelly’s lawyers will also be battling the court of public opinion, in which case, they may want to advise their client to not do any more fiery interviews.