R. Kelly Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Crime Charges: Everything We Know

Get the details on the legal proceedings involving the 52-year-old singer.

By Corinne Heller, Jess Cohen, Elyse Dupre Aug 02, 2019 3:55 PMTags
Watch: R. Kelly Arrested on Federal Sex Crime Charges: Everything We Know

UPDATE: R. Kelly attended court in Brooklyn, New York on Friday and pleaded not guilty to federal sex crime charges. A judge also ordered him to be held without bail. 

Kelly walked in to the court at around 10:32 a.m. wearing blue prison scrubs and an orange shirt. Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary also attended the hearing.  

Back in July, a five-count superseding indictment was unsealed in the federal court. According to the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, he was charged with one count of racketeering predicated on criminal conduct. He was accused of running an "enterprise" for over two decades and using his fame to "recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with him and others." He was also charged with four counts of violating the Mann Act "related to his interstate transportation of a victim to New York to engage in illegal sexual activity, and his exposure of her to an infectious venereal disease without her knowledge."

In addition, a separate federal indictment was unsealed in Chicago—charging Kelly with federal child pornography and obstruction charges. He has since pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well.

R. Kelly Charged With 10 Counts of Criminal Sexual Abuse

UPDATE: R. Kelly entered a plea of not guilty during his hearing at a federal court in Chicago on Tuesday, E! News has learned. Additionally, the judge ruled that Kelly will be held without bond.

"Mr. Kelly pleaded not guilty to the charges pending in Chicago," the U.S. Attorney said in a statement shared with E! News. "Judge [Harry] Leinenweber denied bond so he'll remain detained in federal custody."


R. Kelly was arrested in on Thursday night for federal sex crimes in two states, with charges including child pornography and obstruction of justice.

A federal law enforcement source told E! News that the 52-year-old singer was detained in Chicago "after going out for a smoke and with a dog in front of his residence." According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, Kelly is in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors in New York also have charged Kelly with racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child, according to unsealed records.

Kelly has faced numerous sexual abuse allegations over the years and has continuously denied all of the claims. The issues were brought to light again this year after Lifetime aired the docu-series Surviving R. Kelly, which revisited the abuse accusations.

Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, released a statement via Twitter on Friday, saying that Kelly and his lawyers "look forward to his day in court."

Here are the latest charges made against Kelly:


In a 13-count indictment handed down by a grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois, Kelly is charged with child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice.

The indictment states that Kelly "engaged in sexual contact and sexual acts" with five victims who were between the age ages of 12 and 17 at the time. It says that between in or around 1998 and in or around 2002, the singer "recorded himself on video engaging in sexual contact and sexual acts with minors," and there are four videos recovered that show him allegedly doing this with one of them.

After learning that some of the tapes were missing from his "collection," Kelly, a former manager and a former other employee allegedly made plans to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover the recordings. Kelly is also accused of paying victims and witnesses to ensure they would not cooperate with police and of using violence, threats, blackmail and other controlling behaviors against his sexual partners.

"The courage and contributions of my clients greatly assisted in bringing nearly 3 decades of sexual abuse to a permanent end. They deserve our respect," attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted overnight.

In New York, a grand jury alleged that Kelly and his associates comprised an "Enterprise" to promote Kelly's music and his brand and to "recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity" with the singer in the state and elsewhere, including overseas.

The group allegedly helped Kelly in "committing crimes and conspiring to commit crimes including but not limited to engaging in sexual activity with girls under the age of 18, and facilitating sexual activity without disclosing a sexually transmitted disease Kelly had contracted and producing child pornography."

According to the documents, the victims were isolated from friends and family and made to become dependent on Kelly for their financial wellbeing. He allegedly installed rules for many of his sexual partners, such as barring them from leaving their rooms or eating or going to the bathroom without his permission, being made to wear baggy clothing when not with him and banning from looking at other men. They were also required to call him "Daddy."

"R. Kelly's Enterprise was not only engaged in music; as alleged, for two decades the enterprise at the direction of R. Kelly preyed upon young women and teenagers whose dreams of meeting a superstar, soon turned into a nightmare of rape, child pornography, and forced labor," Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security New York said in a statement. "The musician turned predator allegedly used his stardom to coax some victims into nefarious sex acts while certain members his enterprise calculatingly facilitated the aberrant conduct. Today's indictment charging racketeering is a clear indication of the extent of his criminal activity, which involves coercion and kidnapping."

"R. Kelly believed he could fly, but it will be justice to see his oppressive wings clipped," the statement added.

Watch: R. Kelly Charged With 10 Counts of Criminal Sexual Abuse

Kelly's attorney said in his statement, "As has been reported, Robert Kelly was arrested by federal agents last night while walking his dog. The agents were courteous and professional, as was Mr. Kelly," Greenberg's statement reads. "The charges arose from alleged conduct in Northern District of Illinois  as well as the Eastern District of New York. The conduct alleged appears to largely be the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr. Kelly in his current State indictment and his former State charges that he was acquitted of. Most, if not all of the conduct, is decades old."

 "Mr. Kelly was aware of the investigations and the charges were not a surprise," the statement continued. "He had already assembled a team of outstanding federal litigators. He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain. Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue to making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him."

"A bail hearing will be held early next week, at which time Mr. Kelly hopes to be released from custody," Greenberg noted. "There will be no further comment until that time."

Back in February, Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Illinois' Cook County, the singer's lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. In late May, he was charged with 11 new counts of sexual abuse, which he also pleaded not guilty to.

In 2008, a jury acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges that stemmed from a videotape allegedly showing him having sex with a minor.

NBC New York was first to report the arrest news.

—Reporting by Jessica Finn

(Originally published on Friday, July 12 at 6:02 a.m. PT)

Latest News