R. Kelly held without bail

By Alexandra Yetter, News Editor

R&B singer R. Kelly was ordered to be held without bail Tuesday at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Kelly is facing an 18-count indictment, 13 in Cook County and five in the Eastern District of New York, for alleged sex crimes against 10 victims, many of whom are alleged to be underage.

Kelly is charged with child pornography, kidnapping, forced labor, sexual exploitation of a child and racketeering. He pleaded not guilty during the hearing.

Prosecutors advocated for Kelly not to be released because he “has a unique ability to influence and intimidate witnesses and victims, and that continues to this day.”

The argument comes after attorney Michael Avenatti—who represents three alleged victims, three parents of victims and three of Kelly’s associates—said Kelly paid $2 million to keep an alleged victim from testifying against him in a 2008 trial for child pornography charges.

Kelly’s attorney Steven Greenberg unsuccessfully argued Kelly should be confined to his home.

“There’s no evidence that he’s a risk to minors at all at this point,” Greenberg said during the hearing, according to published news reports. “The man’s entitled to be held in a humane situation. Mr. Kelly is a difficult person to have [at the correctional facility] because of other prisoners … because of his notoriety.”

These federal charges come six months after Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in February, as reported Feb. 22 by The Chronicle. In May, Kelly was then charged with 11 additional counts of criminal sexual abuse. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.

Story developments to come