R Kelly: Singer’s bail set at $1m after sex abuse charges

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Media captionKelly has faced, and denied, accusations about abuse for decade

A judge in the US has set R Kelly’s bail at $1m (£766,500) after the singer was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The R&B star, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has faced decades of sexual abuse claims.

He has never been convicted and has previously denied other allegations.

He turned himself in to Chicago police on Friday after an arrest warrant was issued against him. At least nine of the charges involve minors.

The 52-year-old’s court appearance comes just weeks after a documentary series called Surviving R Kelly aired. It contained decades of allegations of abuse against him from many women, including the singer’s ex-wife.

The judge chairing Saturday’s hearing was John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr, who presided over last week’s bail hearing for actor Jussie Smollett, who is accused of staging a hoax hate crime against himself.

What are the allegations?

R Kelly appeared in court on Saturday afternoon, after prosecutors in Cook County announced the aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges, involving four victims, on Friday.

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Chicago Police released an image of the singer after his arrest

They say they took place between 1998 and 2010. Documents say at least three of the victims were aged between 13 and 16 at the time of their reported assaults.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said he could face a maximum of seven years in prison for each count.

Mr Kelly’s lawyer told the Associated Press that he had offered to sit down with prosecutors before the filing to describe “why these charges are baseless” but said they refused.

How did the charges come about?

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had urged women to come forward after the documentary series aired.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti has said he is representing six people, including two alleged victims, making allegations against Kelly. At least one of the victims is included in Friday’s indictment, he said.

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Kelly was previously acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008

Mr Avenatti came forward last week to say he had uncovered and handed over previously unreleased footage showing Kelly engaging in sex with an underage girl to prosecutors.

The lawyer says the 40-minute tape, believed to be shot in 1999, shows him having sexual intercourse and engaging in other sexual and lewd acts with a 14-year-old. He has alleged both Kelly and the girl “repeatedly” reference her age as being 14 in the video.

Kelly was previously acquitted over another video tape of a similar nature in 2008.

US broadcaster CNN has said it has seen the new footage and described it as “clear and explicit”.

The charges came one day after lawyer Gloria Allred said she was representing two new women making fresh allegations against Kelly.

Decades of allegations

Kelly has faced, and denied, accusations about sexual and physical abuse for decades.

In 1994 it was reported he married 15-year-old singer and musical protégé Aaliyah at a secret ceremony in Chicago when he was 27. US media said she had lied about her age on the certificate, and the marriage was later annulled.

In 2002 the star was charged with child pornography in Chicago over footage that appeared to show him engaging in intercourse, oral sex, urination, and other sexual acts with a girl said to be 13 or 14.

The case took six years to go to trial. Both Kelly and the girl alleged to be in the video denied it was them. Eventually the jury acquitted Kelly of all 14 charges against him.

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People have been calling for a boycott on Kelly’s music with the hashtag #MuteRKelly

In 2017, Kelly was forced to deny allegations that he was holding a number of young women captive in a so-called “abusive cult” after a bombshell report from BuzzFeed News.

He has also been sued privately by a number of women, including some who allege underage sexual relationships and another who says he “intentionally” infected her with a sexually transmitted disease.

The singer has continued to make music throughout the allegations.

There have been calls to boycott Kelly’s music – both recordings and performances – with people using the social media hashtag #MuteRKelly.