CHICAGO, USA — A Chicago judge ordered R&B superstar R. Kelly to be held without bond on sweeping federal charges linked to child pornography and other crimes at a hearing Tuesday, July 16.
The musician who for decades has faced sexual abuse accusations was arrested last week on suspicion of having sex with 5 underage girls, recording some of it, and then attempting to hide the evidence.
According to local media federal prosecutors described the musician — known for hits like "I Believe I Can Fly" — as "an extreme danger to the community, especially to minor girls" in arguing that neither house arrest nor electronic monitoring would suffice.
"This risk of obstruction is real. This risk is ongoing. This risk is heightened by the defendant's fame and power," one prosecutor told Judge Harry Leinenweber, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
After being denied bond the artist born Robert Kelly pleaded not guilty to the 13-count indictment.
In a separate blow Kelly, 52, also faces a five-count superseding indictment in New York on charges including racketeering, as well as coercing and transporting minors to have sex. (READ: R. Kelly hit with 11 new sex crime charges)
He has not yet been arraigned in the New York case, and federal prosecutors have indicated he would eventually be brought there to face charges.
Following the Chicago hearing Kelly's lawyer Steve Greenberg said the artist is "obviously disappointed" to remain in custody, with the attorney dubbing his jailing "largely inhumane."
"He's absolutely not a flight risk," Greenberg told journalists. "He's in 24-hour-a-day solitary confinement... because that's the safest place for them to house him."
Prior to his arrest last week Kelly had been out on bond in connection with state felony charges of aggravated sexual assault in Chicago's Cook County criminal court.
Kelly has a decades-long history of abuse allegations, especially of underage girls. In 1994 he wed his protegee Aaliyah, the late R&B star who was 15 at the time.
He began facing renewed scrutiny earlier this year upon the release of the docu-series Surviving R. Kelly, which on Tuesday nabbed an Emmy nomination for outstanding informational series or special. — Rappler.com