R. Kelly: New charges 'raise the stakes,' attorney says

ByJohn Garcia WLS logo
Friday, May 31, 2019
R. Kelly: New charges 'raise the stakes,' attorney says
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An attorney for R. Kelly is speaking out as the embattled R&B star faces 11 new counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse.

CHICAGO -- An attorney for R. Kelly is speaking out as the embattled R&B star faces 11 new counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse.

The charges include four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault by force, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a victim who was at least age 13 and under 17 at the time.

The four aggravated criminal sexual assault counts carry maximum terms of 30 years in prison.

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Attorney Steve Greenberg, who represents Kelly, said these new charges raise the stakes.

"Obviously it presents more risk because the penalties are greater, but it doesn't change the underlying facts," he said.

Those facts include the charges Kelly previously faced, connected to allegations of sexual abuse and assault against Kelly from four different women, three of whom claim they were underage at the time. The previous charges could have been punishable with probation.

Kelly pleaded not guilty to the original charges and denied any wrongdoing after his February arrest.

Jerhonda Pace, one of Kelly's alleged victims who has come forward publicly, claims she was 16 when she and Kelly had a sexual relationship.

"Yes I am aware of the 11 new counts against R. Kelly," she tweeted Thursday. "Yes, all new accounts are related to my case."

Oronike Odeleye, a leader of the "Mute R. Kelly" hashtag campaign, says Pace and other accusers are telling the truth.

"Nobody's bringing charges they can't back up with evidence," Odeleye said.

"When there's smoke there's fire. Activists, survivors have been speaking out against R. Kelly for years," said fellow co-founder Kenyette Barnes.

Jim DeRogatis, a Chicago-based journalist who has been covering R. Kelly and the allegations around him for years, called the singer "the worst abuser of women in the history of pop music."

"This is a 30-year pattern of predatory behavior," he said.

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Kelly's attorney disagrees and says his client plans to plead not guilty in court again next week.

"It doesn't change the fact that she's told a million different stories over time and admitted lying many times," he said.

Kelly's attorney said the singer plans to release new music soon, despite his record company dropping him. #MuteRKelly organizers hope to stop radio stations from playing that music.

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