UPDATED: A Chicago judge has set R&B singer R. Kelly’s bond at $1 million, or $250,000 for each of the four cases of criminal sexual abuse leveled against him. The singer, 52, must put forth $100,000 to make bail.
The singer appeared at the Leighton Criminal Court Building wearing a black hoodie and jeans, according to the Chicago Sun Times, “and a frown that creased his face.” Kelly stared at the ground in front of him as Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Gonzalez read off a proffer of the evidence against him in four separate cases of alleged sexual abuse, which took place between 1998 and 2010. The alleged victims — three of whom were minors — were identified only by their initials in the press conferences and legal documents.
If he posts the bond for his release, Kelly will be ordered to surrender his passport and not to contact anyone under 18. The next court date in the case is scheduled for Monday, at which Kelly will make a plea and be assigned a judge.
As of Sunday, Kelly had not posted bail, owing partially to the difficulty in obtaining that sum on a weekend and also because he owes some $169,000 in child support, according to CNN. His attorney Steve Greenberg told reporters that the singer “really doesn’t have any money at this point” due to “mismanagement … hangers-on and bad deals.”
During a press conference following the hearing, Cook County State Attorney Kimberly Fox read off details and graphic descriptions of the charges against the singer, prompting news outlets to cut away from the livestream. They involve a girl who met Kelly at a restaurant while celebrating her 16th birthday; a hairdresser who Kelly attempted to force to perform oral sex on him; a girl who Kelly met outside his 2008 child-pornography trial and with whom he had several sexual encounters afterward; and another who was forced to watch a videotape of Kelly having sex with a girl who said on the tape that she was 14 years old (this may be the same tape, or at least the same girl, referenced in Kelly’s child-pornography trial). The documents claim to have DNA evidence connecting Kelly to the incidents. Some details are outlined in the criminal complaint released Friday and the bond proffer embedded below.
“I think all the women are lying,” Kelly attorney Steve Greenberg told reporters. “Mr. Kelly is strong, he’s got a lot of support and he’s going to be vindicated on all these charges — one by one, if it has to be.”
The indictment came just days after sex tape reportedly surfaced featuring Kelly engaging in sexual acts with an underage girl, according to CNN and the New Yorker. A grand jury was reportedly convened in the case in Cook County, Illinois, earlier this week, and TMZ reported early Friday that two women had testified.
Kelly has multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him dating back 25 years, although he has never been convicted. Most recently, two women came forward in a press conference on Thursday, accusing Kelly of misconduct when they were 16 and 15 years old, respectively.
While the sex tape seems to have driven Friday’s indictment, there’s little question that public sentiment against Kelly grew exponentially after the first airing of “Surviving R. Kelly,” a docuseries that aired on Lifetime in January and recounts the accusations against the singer in harrowing detail (it airs again beginning Feb. 25). Following the release of the series, Foxx urged others with stories about the musician to come forward. In late January, she announced she received 12 responses about Kelly and was evaluating with her office on how to move forward with legal action. In a statement released to Variety on Friday, a rep for the Lifetime network said, “We are proud that Lifetime was able to provide a platform for survivors to be heard.”
Kelly has consistently denied any wrongdoing.