More than a decade after surviving a high-profile child pornography trial, R. Kelly on Friday was back in police custody — this time accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls.
The embattled R&B singer was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He is expected to appear in bond court Saturday — one day after Cook County prosecutors alleged in an explosive indictment that the abuse involved four victims, at least three of them minors, from 1998 to 2010.
The minors were between 13 and 16, prosecutors said. Kelly is 52.
Surrounded by TV cameras, Kelly turned himself in to police about 8:15 p.m. at the Central District station on the Near South Side. Officers inside the station handcuffed Kelly and led him away.
After the singer’s surrender, defense attorney Steve Greenberg maintained his client’s innocence, claiming all of Kelly’s alleged victims are liars.
“I think all the women are lying, yes,” Greenberg said.
“Unfortunately the state’s attorney has now succumbed to public pressure,” Greenberg added. “Mr. Kelly is strong, he’s got a lot of support and he’s going to be vindicated on all these charges.”
Asked if Kelly is the man shown in three photos — purported to be from one of the alleged tapes of Kelly and an underage girl — released Friday afternoon by high-profile attorney Michael Avenatti, Greenberg said he doesn’t trust anything Avenatti says.
“I don’t know if it’s R. Kelly or not on those photos, but anyone can have photos,” Greenberg said. “I don’t put any credence in anything.”
Kelly had left his Near West Side studio about 7:45 p.m., surrounded by about a dozen members of his entourage and security guards, who left the building first and blocked out a path for the singer.
Dressed in a bright blue puffy coat and dark jeans, Kelly headed quickly to a waiting black Mercedes cargo van with tinted windows. He said nothing to the reporters who had waited outside the front door of the building at 219 N. Justine St. since shortly after the charges against him were announced.
“Is he inside? Do you have him inside?” one of the members of Kelly’s detail shouted as Kelly climbed inside the van. “Shut it. Let’s go.”
The van took off south on Justine, followed by several other vehicles and news crews. (Courtesy Chicago Suntimes)