R. Kelly Bond Set At $1 Million In Sexual Abuse Case

Feb 23, 2019
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This afternoon, R&B star R. Kelly was ordered held on $1 million bond after being indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse yesterday in Chicago. At a press conference afterwards, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx added new details to the charges unveiled yesterday.

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KIM FOXX: The victim met Robert Kelly on her 16th birthday, where she was celebrating at a restaurant. At that encounter, the victim told Robert Kelly it was her 16th birthday that day.

MARTIN: NPR's Cheryl Corley was at the courthouse today, and she's with us from there now. Cheryl, welcome. Thank you for talking with us.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Oh, yes, of course.

MARTIN: First, tell us about the hearing. Did the judge have some reaction to the charges?

CORLEY: Well, he did, and that was interesting. He called the charges very disturbing. And then when Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, talked about why Kelly should receive a low bond, the judge asked him if he had anything more to say about his client. It sounded like he wanted to hear something about his character or anything like that.

But he didn't get anything from the attorney, so the judge set that bond of $1 million. And he also set some special conditions for the bond. R. Kelly can't have any contact with the victims or alleged victims or witnesses in this case. He had to turn in his passport - no contact with anyone under 18 years of age at all as well.

MARTIN: How did Kelly and his attorney respond to that?

CORLEY: Well, he came and talked to us after the bond hearing was over, and he said given the charges, that he thought that they were pretty favorable, that they weren't upset with the bond at all. The bail is actually $250,000 for each case. He's charged with four cases. In the courtroom itself, Kelly was pretty stoic. He was in street clothes. He stood by his attorney as the charges were read.

And Steve Greenberg, his attorney, just said, you know, R. Kelly right now, he's presumed innocent - no reason to believe the allegations are credible. He said he heard these accusations for the first time in the courtroom just like we were hearing them. He said that R. Kelly turned himself in last night, so he spent the night in jail, and he was pretty upset. And so here's a little bit more about what he had to say about Kelly's mood.

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STEVE GREENBERG: You know, he's devastated. Here's someone who at one point was a huge star, and now he's sitting behind bars - even if it's just for a day. He's got these accusations. He's not going to be able to tour.

CORLEY: And he also said that we shouldn't be second-guessing anyone's sex life. And he said that R. Kelly is a rock star, and he doesn't have to force anyone to have sex.

MARTIN: So before we finish here today, Cheryl, could you lay out the case against R. Kelly and what he faces if convicted?

CORLEY: Yeah, R. Kelly faces 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. And they say they have evidence - that they have tapes, they have witnesses, they have DNA evidence as well. So we'll see how this will all play out. Each of those charges is probationable. It also - they each carry a sentencing range of three to seven years, so the maximum that R. Kelly is facing is 70 years in prison if he is convicted.

MARTIN: That is NPR's Cheryl Corley at the Cook County courthouse in Chicago. Cheryl, thank you.

CORLEY: You're quite welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF KELLAR WILLIAMS' "FAT B") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.