Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York have unsealed a five-count criminal indictment against R&B singer R. Kelly, which includes charges of racketeering, racketeering, kidnapping, forced labour, and coercion or enticement to engage in criminal sexual activity.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, members of Kelly's entourage helped the singer arrange encounters with women and girls, who were hand-picked at concerts and other venues.
In a separate case filed in Chicago, a federal grand jury unveiled a 13-count indictment that contains child pornography and obstruction of justice charges.
It is alleged that Kelly had mutiple videos of himself engaging in sexual acts with minors in his private collection. However, after several damning videotapes went missing from the collection, he and some members of his entourage supposedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the victims to cover up for the existence of the footage.
Defence attorney Steve Greenberg said that the alleged misconduct Kelly was charged with what “appears to largely be the same” as what he was charged with in Illinois court.
“Mr. Kelly was aware of the investigations and the charges were not a surprise," he added. "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."
The 'I Believe I Can Fly' hit-maker was arrested by the New York Police Department and federal Homeland Security agents on Thursday night.
In February, he was indicted on and pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving three minors and one woman. He was released on bail but soon jailed again after failing to pay child support. In June, he pleaded not guilty to 11 new sex-related felonies.
The Grammy-winning singer, 52, has been dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct for over a decade now. In 2008, he was acquitted in a child pornography case after a videotape emerged showing him having sex with a girl identified as his goddaughter, who may have been as young as 13. However, the girl refused to show up in court, raising suspicions that Kelly could have paid off her family.