Singer R. Kelly was arrested on federal sex crime charges Thursday night in Chicago and is being held in Cook County jail, a spokesman for the singer said, according to local media.
Dakarai Turner, a reporter with Chicago’s Fox affiliate, reported that the prosecution involves U.S. Attorneys for both the Northern District of Illinois and New York. The indictment includes child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice, according to numerous reports.
New York Police Department detectives and federal homeland security agents worked together to make the arrest in Chicago, NBC New York reported, saying it is “expected he will be brought to New York.”
Kelly is the second high-profile person, along with Jeffrey Epstein, to be targeted by New York prosecutors this week after decades of both men seeming relatively unscathed by persistent allegations related of horrific sex abuse.
The R&B singer has for years been rumored to have run a sex cult where brainwashed women were held and who Kelly allegedly kept in a “dungeon” and called his “pets.”
In 2002, video emerged that appeared to show Kelly urinating on an underage girl. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges after the alleged victim didn’t testify.
In February 2019, state prosecutors in Chicago charged him with 10 counts of sexual abuse against four women, three of whom were allegedly underage. In May, state court testimony suggested that Kelly may have paid off and threatened witnesses to change the outcome of the 2008 trial, including paying to send witnesses on vacation during the trial.
That case reportedly also unearthed evidence that Kelly had underage girls transferred across state lines for sexual purposes, which would be a federal charge.
On July 2, Kelly reportedly went to a judge to attempt to keep his ex-wife from disclosing information about their “private lives.”
The case has parallels to that of Epstein, a hedge fund manager who traveled in celebrity circles and maintained elaborate residences and private flights, which were long rumored to have underage girls present. (RELATED: Prosecutors Move To Seize Epstein’s $75 Million Townhouse)
In 2007, federal prosecutors in Florida “bent over backwards,” in the words of one assistant prosecutor, for Epstein by deferring to state prosecutors, leading him to serve only 13 months in a county jail where he was permitted to leave for 12 hours a day for work. A series of lawsuits and investigations trailed him for years, with some lawsuits reportedly being settled using his riches.
But on July 7, Epstein was belatedly charged with years-old alleged conduct in a different jurisdiction. Federal prosecutors in New York arrested him at the airport and charged him with sex trafficking, leading to a potential 45 year maximum in prison.
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