CHICAGO -- R. Kelly appeared in court Friday to face new federal charges that accuse him and members of his entourage of recruiting women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with the singer and paying them to cover up his crimes.
Kelly, who was already facing sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors, was indicted on allegations that he and his business manager paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and used physical abuse and blackmail to prevent girls and their relatives from providing evidence to law enforcement about his sex acts with minors and videos depicting them.
An indictment unsealed Friday in Chicago said he arranged for a girl and her parents to travel overseas so they could not talk with police prior to his 2002 indictment on 21 counts of child pornography. The pornography case stemmed from allegations that Kelly recorded a video of him engaging in sex acts with the girl, who was 12 or 13 when they met in the mid-1990s.
Kelly and the girl denied they were in the video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them. She did not take the stand. He was acquitted in 2008.
The indictment says the payments continued after the 2008 trial, and that Kelly also transferred the title on a luxury SUV to the girl in 2013.
Prosecutors also say Kelly went to great lengths to recover videos he made of himself with girls when he realized some were missing from his "collection," including making some victims and witnesses take lie-detector tests to ensure they had returned all copies of the videos.
A separate indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York includes charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child. It says Kelly and his managers, bodyguards and other assistants picked out women and girls at concerts and other venues and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly. They also set 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 alleges.
The indictment alleges that the criminal acts occurred over two decades dating back to 1999, both in the U.S. and overseas.