R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to allegations that he knowingly exposed two people to herpes during sex. The nine-count indictment for alleged racketeering and sexual abuse, filed on March 12, said one of the people exposed to herpes was a minor female, and the other was an adult female. Kelly allegedly “engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse” with these two accusers, who are referred to as Jane Doe #5 and Jane Doe #6 in court papers. Kelly allegedly did so “without first informing” them “that he had contracted herpes and obtaining her consent to sexual intercourse in these circumstances.”
Kelly’s arraignment took place via telephone conference, where he called into the proceeding from the Chicago federal jail where he is presently detained. His New York trial, which was delayed due to COVID-19, is scheduled for September. R. Kelly asked for bail again, due to coronavirus concerns as his lawyers claim he is “likely diabetic.” Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg shared, “He has been experiencing panic attacks. He is petrified. He is convinced he is going to die while in pretrial detention.”
A federal judge in New York denied R. Kelly’s request for release from jail in Chicago. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly of Brooklyn wrote in her denial. “The defendant is currently in custody because of the risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses. The defendant has not explained how those risks have changed.”
Kelly garnered acclaim with songs, “I Believe I Can Fly”, “Bump N’ Grind”, “Your Body’s Callin” and has sold over 75 million records worldwide, however he is now behind bars. On February 22, 2019, Kelly was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. On July 11, 2019, he was arrested on federal charges alleging sex crimes and obstruction of justice. Kelly faces a total of 18 federal counts, including child pornography, kidnapping and forced labor, as of July 12, 2019. As a result, he is currently incarcerated at Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago.
In an article from Page Six in February 2019, R. Kelly’s sexual assault tape is described as “just as disturbing as people imagined,” according to lawyer Michael Avenatti. The footage had been rumored to exist for years but was only recently obtained by Avenatti following a months-long investigation. “Earlier this month, we uncovered and recovered a videotape of over 40 minutes in length,” Avenatti said. “This tape leaves no question as to whether R. Kelly is guilty of multiple sexual illegal acts against a 14-year-old girl.” Avenatti continues, “It is clear that this young lady was 14 years of age at the time the video was shot.”
Back in 2018, Kelly’s management team put out a statement, “R. Kelly has close friendships with a number of women who are strong, independent, happy, well cared for and free to come and go as they please,” they wrote. “We deny the many dark descriptions put forth by instigators and liars who have their own agenda for seeking profit and fame.” Kelly’s former attorney Linda Mensch also put out a statement in 2018, “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.” In April 2018, Mensch and Kelly’s assistant resigned from their positions.