Anna Sheffer
July 12, 2019 8:28 am

In February, R. Kelly was indicted on sexual abuse charges in Illinois, after efforts like the #MuteRKelly movement and the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly brought renewed public interest to the allegations against him. The R&B singer has yet to go on trial, but the case against him has continued to stack up, and prosecutors added 11 new charges to his indictment in May. Now, Kelly has been charged with federal sex crimes—including child pornography.

According to The New York Timesfederal authorities arrested Kelly in Chicago on the evening of July 11th. The 13 new charges—which are the first federal charges facing Kelly—include child pornography, enticement of a minor, and obstruction of justice. The Associated Press notes that the charges come from Illinois and New York. Per the AP, the indictment accuses Kelly and his team of recruiting girls and women to target and claims that when they were with Kelly, the victims were required to follow a strict set of rules. For instance, they had to ask Kelly’s permission to leave their rooms and could not look at other men.

Kelly’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg, told NBC News that the federal charges represented accusations that were “decades old” and that Kelly “was acquitted of” previously. He added that the singer “looks forward to his day in continue to making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him.”

Kelly has maintained that he is innocent of all charges. In a March interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning, he dismissed the accusations facing him, saying that the women who had come forward were “lying on me.” He then attempted to defend himself in an explosive outburst.

The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer has faced criminal charges before. As The New York Times notes, in 2008, he was acquitted in a child pornography case. Prosecutors cited as evidence a video that allegedly depicted Kelly committing statutory rape, but the girl in the video declined to testify against him.

The new federal charges against Kelly are a significant development, but his legal battle is far from over. We’ll be watching for more updates in the case.

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