R. Kelly Charged With Prostitution in Minnesota

UPDATED: R. Kelly has been charged with two counts of prostitution with a person under 18, according to a press conference held in Minneapolis this afternoon. The allegation, regarding an incident that took place in the city in 2001, follows a total of 18 counts of serious sexual misconduct and other charges brought against the singer last month in Chicago and New York, among other charges.

“It is despicable that Mr. Kelly used his fame in order to prey on underaged girls,” Hennepin County State’s Attorney Mike Freeman said during the conference. “While there are more numerous charges in the Illinois and federal cases, we wanted to make sure that our victim here in Minneapolis also receives a measure of justice. We fully expect that at some future date, Mr. Kelly will have to account for his actions in Hennepin County.”

Freeman said the incident, which allegedly took place on the day of Kelly’s concert in the city, July 11, 2001, involved “dancing and sexual contact.” He noted there was no sexual intercourse between Kelly and the victim. The victim’s brother corroborated her account in court papers, noting that she told him briefly about the incident.

Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, tweeted in response: “Re: New charges @RKelly give me a break. This is beyond absurd.”

A representative for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in Chicago confirmed that the Minnesota charges resulted from a call to the tip line set up by the office in January.

In answering questions that were inaudible on the livestream, Freeman said, “Some might say, ‘Aren’t you piling on [against Kelly], he’s got federal charges in New York, state charges in Cook County [Illinois] and elsewhere. Frankly, Minnesota victims deserve their day in court and that’s why we’re here. In my view, too many prosecutors are ignoring victims. This one doesn’t.”

In response to another question, Freeman said, “Before we can charge a case, we have to have sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed. But we listen to victims and we believe she deserves her day in court.”

In a question about whether the state’s three-year statute of limitations on the incident has expired, as no police report was filed in 2001, Freeman said, “That doesn’t bar the prosecution here. Because he left the state, the statute doesn’t [end] until he returns to the state, and there’s no indication that he’s been in Minnesota for [a duration of] three years, then we have a case.

“It doesn’t disturb me whatsoever that it may not go to trial, as long as he spends time for the crimes he’s committed elsewhere,” he continued, referring to the Chicago and New York charges against Kelly. “I can’t make sure of that unless I am at the table. By charging this case, we are at the table.”

Kelly was hit last month with a total of 18 counts of serious sexual misconduct and other charges in Chicago and New York. He was denied bail on racketeering and sexual abuse charges at an arraignment hearing in Brooklyn Federal Court on Friday morning; he was ordered held without bond at a hearing last month in federal court in Chicago. The singer entered a not-guilty plea in both cases. Kelly was charged with child pornography in 2002 after a videotape surfaced that purportedly showed him having sex with an underaged girl, however the girl in the video declined to testify and Kelly was acquitted in 2008.

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