Journalism of Courage

R. Kelly pleads not guilty to sex-crime charges, denied bail

R &B star R. Kelly pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he sexually exploited young women and girls who attended his concerts, appearing in a U.S federal courtroom in Brooklyn packed with his supporters.

The entertainment star was denied bail, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York.

Kelly was arraigned on a second federal indictment accusing him of being the leader of a “racketeering enterprise” that recruited women and girls for illegal sexual encounters with him, including transporting them across state lines.

NBC posted video of Kelly arriving at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport. Wearing a tan prison shirt and orange shoes, the R&B star had his hands cuffed in front of him and shuffled along the tarmac as an officer escorted him to a waiting pickup truck.

As of Friday morning, Kelly was in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn; as of Thursday night, prison records showed he was still in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.

During the status hearing before Judge Donnelly, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes said prosecutors will start turning over discovery next week.


Azriel Clary, left, and Joycelyn Savage, right, two women who say they are R. Kelly’s live-in girlfriends, arrive at Brooklyn federal court for his arraignment on sex-crime charges, Aug. 2, 2019 in New York.
Mark Lennihan/ AP

Kelly is charged in a five-count indictment with racketeering, sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor and Mann Act violations involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Kelly has been locked up in Chicago since July 11 on another federal indictment by the Northern District of Illinois on similar sex-crime charges, including possession and production of child pornography.

Kelly has already pleaded not guilty to the federal charges in Illinois. He was denied bond and was locked up in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago until he was taken to New York.

Kelly also is facing state sex-crime charges in Cook County. Earlier this year, he pleaded not guilty to two sets of multiple sex-crimes, including aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault by force, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated criminal sexual abuse against an accuser between the ages of 13 and 17.


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