R. Kelly Pleads Not Guilty in Sex Abuse Case, Posts Bond

Michael Avenatti, who says he represents two of Kelly's victims, tweeted Monday that he plans to provide "a second video showing R. Kelly engaged in sexual assault of a minor to prosecutors"

After spending the weekend in jail in Chicago, R&B star R. Kelly was released on bond Monday after an earlier hearing in his sexual abuse case.

During a morning arraignment, Kelly's attorneys entered a not guilty plea for all 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse that the singer faces. He had been booked on charges alleging that he sexually abused four women, including three who were minors at the time.

Later Monday evening, Kelly and his attorney pushed through a scrum of reporters and got into what appeared to be the same black van that took him to the police station where he turned himself in on Friday.

Judge Lawrence Flood maintained Kelly's $100,000 bond and said special conditions will apply, including no firearms or weapons in his possession, no contact with anyone under 18 years old and the surrender of his passport. 

Kelly left the courtroom with his hands behind his back. 

"Our position at this point is Mr. Kelly has done absolutely nothing wrong," Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg told reporters outside the courtroom. "No one has shown us any evidence that he has done anything wrong." 

Sitting in the second row of the courtroom Monday was attorney Michael Avenatti, who claimed earlier that day he was submitting new evidence against Kelly to prosecutors. 

Avenatti, who says he represents two of Kelly's victims, said he gave prosecutors a second video tape, which purportedly shows Kelly with a 14-year-old girl. Avenatti previously said he handed over a videotape days before charges were filed against Kelly. 

"The conduct in the tape can be described as nothing short of outrageous, illegal - it leaves no question as to Mr. Kelly's guilt," Avenatti said outside the courtroom. 

Avenatti added that over the weekend "a number of additional witnesses" came forward describing "a decades-long system of abuse by Mr. Kelly of underage girls and conduct that is illegal, criminal and is indicative of someone that should never walk free another day in his life." 

"All of these girls are not lying ladies and gentlemen. It is impossible," he said. 

Kelly was charged Friday with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims, three of whom were minors.

Kelly's attorney said he has not seen any of the tapes referenced by Avenatti.

"We’re going to try the case in the courtroom, we’re going to see what the evidence is and we’re not going to worry about some grandstanding," he said. 

A judge on Saturday set bail for the 52-year-old Grammy Award-winning singer at $1 million, requiring Kelly to pay 10 percent to go free.

Greenberg said at the bond hearing that his client wasn't wealthy, despite decades of success creating hit songs for himself and others. He blamed mismanagement, bad contracts and other issues for Kelly's financial woes.

Disturbing details of the allegations against Kelly emerged over the weekend when the prosecution released four detailed documents — one for each accuser — outlining the basis for the charges. The allegations date back as far as 1998 and span more than a decade.

A 16-year-old girl who attended Kelly's child pornography trial in 2008 got his autograph after a court session. He later invited her to his home in the Chicago suburb of Olympia Fields, where they had sex multiple times, according to the documents, which said he also slapped, choked and spit on her.

In 1998, another girl reported meeting Kelly at a restaurant where she was having a 16th birthday party. Kelly's manager gave her the singer's business card and suggested she call Kelly. The girl's mother heard the exchange, took the card and told the manager her daughter was 16.

But her daughter later retrieved the card from her purse. She contacted Kelly, who gave her instructions and money that she assumed was for the taxi fare to his studio, where they had sex periodically for a year, the documents said.

In early 2003, a Chicago hairdresser told prosecutors that she thought she was going to braid Kelly's hair, but he pulled down his pants and instead tried to force her to give him oral sex. The woman, who was 24, was able to pull away, but Kelly ejaculated on her and spit in her face, the documents said.

Prosecutors also described a witness who had access to videotapes showing Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. The witness turned a tape over to authorities and identified the girl, who repeatedly stated her age on the footage, according to the documents.

Kelly's DNA was found in semen on one of the accuser's shirts, and semen found on a shirt worn by another was submitted for DNA testing, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said. It was not clear when the accusers turned the shirts over to authorities, whether it was shortly after the abuse or more recently.

Kelly has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

In addition to the charges, a lawsuit filed Thursday by a woman named Heather Williams alleged "childhood sexual abuse" by Kelly in1998, when she was 16 years old. It remains unclear if Williams is among the victims in the criminal complaint. 

"I have encouraged my client to cooperate fully with the State's Attorney's office and the police department in the criminal prosecution, as I think that's the best chance for justice that she or any other woman can get," Williams' attorney Jeff Deutschman said Monday. 

Greenberg told reporters over the weekend that Kelly did not force anyone to have sex.

"He's a rock star. He doesn't have to have non-consensual sex," Greenberg said.

The judge's order for Kelly to surrender his passport, ends the singer's hopes of doing a tour of Europe in April. Kelly defiantly scheduled concerts in Germany and the Netherlands despite the cloud of legal issues looming over him. Greenberg denied that any tour was planned.

The recording artist, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. He has repeatedly denied such claims. 

Each count of the new charges carries up to seven years in prison, and the sentences could be served consecutively, making it possible for him to receive up to 70 years. Probation is also an option.

Kelly is next expected to appear in court on March 22. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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