CHICAGO (AP) – R. Kelly, the R&B star who has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves, was charged Friday with aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17.
In a brief appearance before reporters, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced the 10 counts against the 52-year-old Grammy winner. She said the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. She did not comment on the charges or take questions.
The singer, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct, was to appear in court today. His attorney, Steve Greenberg, said Friday that Kelly planned to turn himself in that night.
“He is extraordinarily disappointed and depressed. He is shell-shocked by this,” Greenberg told The Associated Press.
The arrest sets the stage for another #MeToo-era celebrity trial. Bill Cosby went to prison last year, and former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial.
Best known for hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly was charged a week after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he gave prosecutors new video evidence of the singer with an underage girl.
Avenatti said he represents six clients, including two victims, two parents and two people he describes as “knowing R. Kelly and being within his inner circle for the better part of 25 years.”