The Slatest

R. Kelly Arrested on Federal Sex Trafficking Charges

R. Kelly
R. Kelly walks out following a hearing on June 26 in Chicago. Scott Olson/Getty Images

R&B singer R. Kelly was arrested Thursday evening in Chicago on 13 federal charges, including sex trafficking, child pornography, enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and obstruction of justice. The singer is facing another federal indictment in New York, where prosecutors are expected to file racketeering charges Friday. The 52-year-old Grammy winner was previously arrested earlier this year in Chicago on 10 separate counts involving four women, three of whom were minors, before being released on bail. In May, Cook County prosecutors added 11 more sex-related counts that, CBS News reports, stem from accusations made by Jerhonda Pace that were surfaced in the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.


Kelly has been suspected of sexual abuse of minors for decades, dating back to allegations in 1998, but has denied any wrongdoing throughout his career. In 2008, the singer was tried for underage sex crimes, but a jury acquitted him of child pornography for possessing what was alleged to be a sex tape involving Kelly and a minor. Following the January release of the Lifetime series, which detailed numerous claims of sexual, physical, and mental abuse, prosecutors took renewed interest in Kelly’s case and filed charges shortly after. By Thursday’s indictment, Kelly had already been charged with nearly two dozen counts of sexual abuse that carry decades of potential jail time.

“When you’re innocent of charges — and Mr. Kelly has declared his innocence — in America, you know and I know, that you’re innocent until proven guilty,” Darrell Johnson, a crisis manager for R. Kelly, said. “And he’s said many times that he’s innocent.”