Chicago: Singer R. Kelly was charged with ten counts of ‘aggravated criminal sexual abuse’, local media said on Friday (local time).
The R&B artist is likely to turn himself in shortly, TMZ reported.
Earlier this month, a sex tape surfaced showing the singer-songwriter having intercourse with an underage girl. CNN obtained the videotape through celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing a man he refers to as a “whistleblower” against Kelly.
“My client knows the identity of the girl and R. Kelly. He identified the two of them on the videotape. He worked for and has known R. Kelly for decades and he met the girl on a number of occasions,” Avenatti said.
Last week, Avenatti had tweeted a statement saying that he was retained by “multiple clients in connection with allegations of sexual assault of minors” by Kelly.
In a statement cited by Variety, Kelly’s lawyer Steve Greenberg said: “HAPPY VALENTINES DAY … The calls and emails I received were the first I’ve heard of these allegations. I understand that CNN says that they have seen this video. If the video were what it is claimed to be, by sharing it with CNN Mr.
Avenatti would be committing a felony, as would the reporter who viewed it. … I have not been contacted by anyone connected with law enforcement, nor has R Kelly. Mr. Kelly denies that he has engaged in any illegal conduct, of any kind whatsoever. … All of the claims by these women were brought forth years ago, rejected by the police, and/or rejected by the courts, but now for their own gain they have rehashed them.”
Allegations of sexual misconduct by Kelly towards young women date back to more than 20 years.
Kelly was charged with child pornography in 2000 after a video surfaced that alleged to show him having sex with an underage woman. However, he was cleared off all the charges in 2008 after that woman declined to testify against him.
In 1995, when Kelly was 27 years old, he briefly married the late singer Aaliyah, who was 15 years old at that time. In ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ (a documentary series in which accusers came forward with allegations of sexual, mental and physical abuse against the singer) an executive who formerly worked with Kelly says he forged Aaliyah’s birth date on the marriage license to state that she was 18 and another witness said she saw Kelly and Aaliyah having sex.
Last year, reports of Kelly holding women captive in a “sex cult” were published. Multiple other reports have surfaced over the years.