R. Kelly, one of the best-selling music artists of all time, won’t get out of jail until Monday or Tuesday as confidants scramble to arrange to pay the $1M bail needed to free him as he awaits trial for aggravated sexual abuse, his lawyer said Sunday, February 24.
The 52-year-old R&B star had hoped to walk out of the 7,000-inmate Chicago jail over the weekend, but Defense Attorney Steve Greenberg told The Associated Press in a phone interview that coordination of the payment is complicated.
“He has to rely on others acting on his behalf,” Greenberg said. “And it’s just not that easy — because Kelly’s in jail.”
A bond court judge on Saturday set bail at $1 million, requiring the Grammy Award-winning singer to pay 10 percent.
Among the conditions of release is that Kelly has no contact with females younger than 18.
In arguing for bail within the singer’s ability to pay, Greenberg told the judge that Kelly wasn’t wealthy despite decades of success creating hit songs.
The lawyer blamed mismanagement, bad contracts and other issues for his client’s financial woes.
Greenberg said he had braced for the possibility that bail could be higher than $1 million, but was pleased when Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. arrived at the amount he did.
There are multiple logistical issues that could have thwarted Kelly’s efforts to pay over the weekend, said Joseph Lopez, a criminal defense attorney in Chicago not connected to the Kelly case.
Bond can be paid by credit card, cash or check. Court officials must be able to talk to bank officials directly to confirm that an amount written on a check is covered, and that’s not possible when banks are closed, Lopez said.
Records on the Cook County sheriff’s website said Kelly is in Division 8 of the county jail, where the medical unit is located but also where inmates considered at risk from the general inmate population are held, Lopez said.
Kelly was charged in a grand jury indictment unsealed Friday (Feb. 22) with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, three of whom were minors.
Greenberg said a judge will assign a trial judge to the case at a brief Monday morning court session that Kelly is expected to attend.
Disturbing details of the allegations against Kelly emerged Saturday (Feb. 23) when the prosecution released four detailed documents — one for each accuser — outlining the basis for the charges.
The allegations date back as far as 1998 and span more than a decade.
A 16-year-old girl who attended Kelly’s child pornography trial in 2008 got his autograph after a court session.
He later invited her to his home in the Chicago suburb of Olympia Fields, where they had sex multiple times, according to the documents, which said he also slapped, choked, and spit on her.
In 1998, another girl reported meeting Kelly at a restaurant where she was having a 16th birthday party.
Kelly’s manager gave her the singer’s business card and suggested she call Kelly.
The girl’s mother heard the exchange, took the card and told the manager her daughter was 16.
But her daughter later retrieved the card from her purse, and contacted Kelly, who gave her instructions and money that she assumed was for the taxi fare to his studio, where they had sex periodically for a year, the documents said.
In early 2003, a Chicago hairdresser told prosecutors that she thought she was going to braid Kelly’s hair, but he pulled down his pants and instead tried to force her to give him oral sex.
The woman, who was 24, was able to pull away, but Kelly ejaculated on her and spit in her face, the documents said.
Prosecutors also described a witness who had access to videotapes showing Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
The witness turned a tape over to authorities and identified the girl, who repeatedly stated her age on the footage, according to the documents.
Kelly’s DNA was found in semen on one of the accuser’s shirts, and semen found on a shirt worn by another was submitted for DNA testing, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said.
It was not clear when the accusers turned the shirts over to authorities — whether it was shortly after the abuse or more recently.
At the bond hearing, Greenberg said his client is not a flight risk.
He told the judge, “Contrary to the song, Mr. Kelly doesn’t like to fly.” One of Kelly’s best-known hits is “I Believe I Can Fly.”
After the hearing, Greenberg told reporters that Kelly did not force anyone to have sex.
“He’s a rock star. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex,” Greenberg said.
The judge ordered Kelly to surrender his passport, ending his hopes of doing a tour of Europe in April.
Kelly defiantly scheduled concerts in Germany and the Netherlands despite the cloud of legal issues looming over him. Greenberg denied that any tour was planned.
The recording artist, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, has been trialed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves.