R. Kelly will remain behind bars after a Chicago judge ruled that the R&B singer is an “extreme danger” to the community. Kelly was denied bail after pleading not guilty, which means he will be forced to stay in prison, according to the Chicago Tribune.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled that Kelly be held without bond after being indicted for abusing dozens of underage girls over decades.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull argued that the 52-year-old is a danger to the community due to his history of alleged sexual abuse and past obstruction of justice.
“We’re talking seventh and eighth grade girls,” Krull said. “And it didn’t happen once or twice. He sexually abused them hundreds of times before they turned 18.”
Kelly’s attorney Steven Greenberg argued that the judge should allow the singer to post bail and be out with electronic monitoring. He also argued that Kelly has known that he was facing serious charges for months and has made no attempt to flee. Per Greenberg, Kelly has also attended every court date set for him and avoids traveling by air.
“He’s got a van,” Greenberg said. “He travels in a van. He’s not a risk to go to the airport and take off, and frankly, he’d be recognized anyway. He’s not going anywhere.”
Greenberg also pushed back on claims that Kelly had paid off a judge to dismiss his previous case to prevent an allegedly damning tape from being turned over to prosecutors. Kelly has also been accused of intimidating and paying off witnesses.
“They say the case was somehow rigged,” Greenberg said. “He went to trial. He didn’t have a bench trial. He had a jury. Those 12 people watched the video in that case…. If the fix was in, he went through an awful lot.”
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Kelly has been charged in three different jurisdictions, including two Chicago cases and one in New York. It isn’t clear which case will take precedence.
Kelly is charged with recording himself having sex with five different underage girls staring in 1998. Prosecutors say that they have three “extremely disturbing” videos in their possession. They added that the videos show shocking abuse and reveal Kelly’s interest in underage girls.
The indictment charges that Kelly would invite underage girls backstage and then maintain contact with the ones he preferred. He would reportedly force them to wear clothing that hid their bodies and told them not to make eye contact with other men when they weren’t with him.
Kelly faces a minimum of 10 years in prison for one Chicago case alone.