The singer R Kelly has been arrested on federal sexual abuse charges alleging he filmed himself having sex with underage girls and later paying victims and witnesses to cover up his crimes.
In the latest series of legal woes for the R&B singer, Kelly and members of his entourage have been hit with a string of federal indictments which also include charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labour and the child sexual exploitation.
The 52-year-old Grammy winner, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was previously arrested in Chicago in February on 10 counts of sexually abusing three girls and a woman. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and was released on bail.
The singer is currently being held at the high-rise Metropolitan Correctional Center, in downtown Chicago. His lawyer, Steve Greenberg, said he hopes to be released after a bail hearing early next week.
"He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain," Mr Greenberg said.
In the indictment unsealed in a New York court on Friday, Kelly, his managers, bodyguards and other assistants were accused of picking out women and girls at concerts both in the US and overseas and arranging for them to travel to see Kelly.
The criminal acts, dating back to 1999, also included rules the women and girls had to follow, including not leaving their rooms – even to eat or go to the bathroom – without Kelly’s permission, calling the singer "Daddy," and not looking at other men, the indictment claims.
It accuses Kelly of engaging in sexual acts with girls under 18 and without disclosing that he had a sexually transmitted disease.
A separate 13-count indictment filed in a Chicago court details efforts to cover up sexually explicit videos of Kelly with underage girls. Prosecutors said the defendants paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to victims and witnesses to ensure they did not co-operate with investigators. It also accuses Kelly of using physical abuse, violence and blackmail to prevent victims from providing evidence to law enforcement officials.
Darrell Johnson, a publicist for the singer, delivered a chaotic news conference soon after the charges were handed down.
The conference was interrupted seconds after beginning, when the family of Joycelyn Savage, a girlfriend of Kelly’s, began shouting "Where’s my daughter at, answer that question".
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Timothy Savage said he has not seen his daughter, who lives with Kelly in Chicago, since 2016 and accused the singer of manipulating her into cutting off contact with her family. Mr Johnson insisted he had "nothing to do" with Ms Savage and that she was not being held against her will.