Singer R. Kelly has been arrested for the third time in four months.
Kelly has been indicted on 13 new federal charges, including one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, four counts of producing child pornography, five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The 52-year-old will appear for an arraignment and detention hearing on Tuesday in Chicago.
According to the indictment, Kelly met the five victims in the late 1990s and engaged in sex acts with them while they were all underage. He allegedly created explicit videos with four of the victims. It is alleged that Kelly and his former employee Derrel McDavid started paying an acquaintance to collect the videos to cover up their existence. When the acquaintance planned to go public with the videos in a press conference, he was paid $170,000 to cancel the event.
The indictment stated that Kelly and McDavid also paid one of the victims and another individual for their efforts to return the tapes and only agreed to pay after they took a polygraph test to confirm that they returned all the copies they had.
McDavid was also charged with one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice for his involvement. He is scheduled to make a court appearance today in Chicago.
Another employee, Milton Brown, was charged in the indictment, but his involvement is unclear.
The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr., who said, “This indictment demonstrates our office’s commitment to holding individuals such as Kelly accountable for criminal sexual abuse of minors, protecting the victims of such crimes, and punishing those who obstruct law enforcement investigations. I thank the courageous individuals who provided law enforcement with important information related to these allegations, and I encourage others with helpful information to do the same. Together with our law enforcement partners and with the help of victims and other witnesses, we will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children.”
Homeland Security Investigation Special Agent-in-Charge James M. Gibbons added, “Today’s arrest serves as a reminder of HSI’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society — our children. We will continue to work in partnership with fellow law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to bring those engaged in child exploitation to justice.”
Kelly could do serious prison time if convicted. Producing child pornography carries a mandatory sentence of 10 to 20 years, while receiving child pornography and conspiring to receive child pornography each carry a punishment of 5 to 20 years in prison. The maximum sentence for enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity is 10 years. The obstruction of justice charges carry a maximum of 5 years in prison.
In a separate federal indictment with the Eastern District of New York, Kelly was charged with racketeering for allegedly operating a criminal enterprise that promoted his music and recruited women and girls to engaged in criminal sexual activity. Kelly is scheduled to appear at a removal hearing on the New York charges later today.
Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg said in a statement, “The charges arose from alleged conduct in the Northern District of Illinois as well as the Eastern District of New York. The conduct alleged appears to be largely the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr. Kelly in his current State indictment and his former State charges that he was acquitted of. Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old.”
“Mr. Kelly was aware of the investigations and the charges were not a surprise. He had already assembled a team of outstanding federal litigators. He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain. Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue to making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him,” Greenberg emphasized. “A bail hearing will be held early next week, at which time Mr. Kelly hopes to be released from custody.”
Page Six reports that Kelly’s arrest came after a Homeland Security Investigations agent watched the highly acclaimed “Surviving R. Kelly” series. A source shared, “It was an agent on our trafficking unit who was watching that Lifetime show, ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’ They were looking at the victims’ interviews.”
The source added that the probe was launched in January and agents went to interview the alleged victims.
In May, Cook County prosecutors filed 11 felony charges, including 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 between 13 and 16 years old.
At the time, Greenberg told The Chicago Sun-Times that he hadn’t seen the filings yet. Greenberg noted, “We’ll see what the charges are, and we’ll proceed accordingly. I know this much: It’s old. They’re allegations from years ago.”
In February, Kelly was arrested and released on a $1-million bond after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He pleaded not guilty.
After his release from prison, R. Kelly sat down with "CBS This Morning’s" Gayle King for an explosive interview. She grilled him on "Surviving R. Kelly." He claimed, "They was describing Lucifer. I'm not Lucifer. I'm a man. I make mistakes, but I'm not a devil, and by no means am I a monster."
Earlier this year, “Extra’s” Tanika Ray sat down with some of the alleged victims interviewed in “Surviving R. Kelly.” Watch.
In 2008, Kelly was found not guilty of 14 counts of child pornography.