In this courtroom sketch, R. Kelly, center, appears before U.S. Magistrate Shelia M. Finnegan, left, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, on July 12, 2019, in Chicago. Also standing with Kelly is his attorney Steve Greenberg and an unidentified prosecutor.

R. Kelly denied bond at hearing on sex-crime indictments, will stay in jail

R. Kelly, locked up for five days on multiple sex-crimes charges in separate federal indictments in Illinois and New York, will stay locked up for the time being, following a hearing Tuesday in Chicago during which a judge ruled against granting him bond.

Kelly appeared in federal court for an arraignment on charges – including production of child porn, sex-trafficking, racketeering, crossing state lines for sex with underage girls and obstruction of justice – contained in indictments unsealed last week in the Northern District of Illinois and in the Eastern District of New York.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull argued against allowing Kelly out on bond, describing him as a flight risk and “an extreme danger to the community, especially to minor girls,” according to the Associated Press and the Chicago Sun-Times.

“How could he flee? He has no money,” his attorney, Steven Greenberg, countered. “There’s no evidence that he’s a risk to minors at all at this point.”

“Unlike his most famous song, ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ Mr. Kelly doesn’t like to fly,” Greenberg told U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber.  

Kelly is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. 

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Azriel Clary, left, and Joycelyn Savage, girlfriends of R. Kelly, walk into federal courthouse in Chicago for his hearing, July 16, 2019.

According to the Associated Press, Kelly, wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackled at the ankles, did not speak except to say “yes sir” when the judge asked if he understood the charges.

Greenberg submitted a not guilty plea for Kelly to charges in the indictments, which paint damning portraits of the R&B singer as a longtime sexual predator who allegedly employed an entourage to recruit girls to have illegal sex with him, make and distribute videos of these illegal acts, and cover up crimes by paying and threatening alleged victims and witnesses.

Besides the arraignment and bail issue, the hearing was scheduled to determine how to proceed on two separate indictments, including whether Kelly eventually will be taken to New York to face the charges there.

Among those at the hearing: Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, who describe themselves as Kelly’s girlfriends who live with him at his Trump Tower Chicago condo. The pair continue to support Kelly even though their families describe them as Kelly’s “sex slaves,” held in thrall and subjected to abuse. 

In this courtroom sketch, R. Kelly, center, appears before U.S. Magistrate Shelia M. Finnegan in the Northern District of Illinois, on July 12, 2019, in Chicago. Also standing with Kelly is his attorney Steve Greenberg and an unidentified prosecutor.

Since the indictments were unsealed, federal prosecutors insisted Kelly be denied bond while awaiting trial, and that home confinement and electronic monitoring would not be enough to minimize the risk of further crimes.

Krull told the judge that Kelly has “a unique ability to influence and intimidate witnesses and victims that is continuing.” 

Prior to Thursday night, when he was arrested, Kelly had been free on bail after being charged with multiple sex crimes in Illinois state court in Chicago by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx earlier this year.

Although several hearings have taken place, a trial has not been scheduled on those charges of rape and sexual assault involving four accusers, three of whom were underage at the time of the alleged crimes.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center, left, in Chicago where R. Kelly is being held after being arrested Thursday in Chicago on federal sex crimes. He’s also facing similar charges in state court in Chicago and in federal court in New York.

It is not clear yet which set of charges Kelly will face first, whether the federal charges will be combined, for instance, and whether the federal cases will proceed ahead of the state case, which is not uncommon when defendants are charged in multiple jurisdictions.

In the 13-count Illinois indictment, Kelly is accused of engaging in sex acts with five minors and recording some of the acts on video. The indictment mentions that prosecutors have at least four videos of Kelly allegedly engaged in illegal sex with one of the accusers, and that the videos allegedly were transported across state lines and/or foreign borders.

He and his employees are accused of intimidating his alleged victims and plotting to hide evidence – the videos – to obstruct the Chicago police investigation in the 2000s of his alleged sexual misconduct with minors.

He’s accused of conspiring to pay “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to some accusers and their families to obstruct the investigation that led to his trial in 2008 in Cook County on child pornography charges. He was acquitted at that trial, so far the only criminal proceeding he has ever faced, in part because the alleged victim in that case refused to testify. 

The five-count New York indictment accuses Kelly of being the leader of a “racketeering enterprise” with managers, bodyguards, drivers, personal assistants and runners in his entourage who recruited women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly, including transporting them “throughout the United States” for the purposes of sex.

The accusers are listed as five Jane Does, all of whom were under 18 when they met Kelly. As part of his alleged racketeering “enterprise,” Kelly is accused of making “rules” for his alleged sexual partners, including isolating them from others, barring them from leaving their rooms even to eat or go to the bathroom, requiring them to wear baggy clothes, forbidding them to look at other men and requiring them to call him “Daddy.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: R. Kelly denied bond on sex-crime indictments, will stay in jail

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