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The singer was taken into custody near his Trump Tower home on Thursday night and charged in a 13-count federal indictment that includes allegations that he persuaded victims and witnesses to change their stories before his 2008 child pornography trial, and paid off the family of the woman at the center of that trial. Kelly’s former manager Derrel McDavid and former employee Milton Brown were also named in the indictment, which includes charges going back to 1998.
The indictment includes new racketeering charges in New York that allege Kelly and his former associates sought out minors for Kelly to engage in sexual acts with and trafficked them across state lines. In addition, there are charges that Kelly and his associates also sought out missing video tapes Kelly recorded of him engaging in sex with minors, and paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to get them back. A July 2017 BuzzFeed article detailed the scale of Kelly’s carefully orchestrated system of seeking out, isolating, and abusing girls.
According to Page Six, Kelly’s arrest came after an agent in the Homeland Security Investigations trafficking unit watched dream hampton’s six-part Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, according to an unnamed source. An investigation was reportedly launched in January, according to the source, the same month the documentary aired. That hasn’t been corroborated on the record, but Kelly was arrested on Thursday by Homeland Security Investigations officers from Chicago and New York. Shortly after the documentary aired, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx asked for any other victims of Kelly to come forward. In February, Kelly was arrested and charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse involving one woman and three girls. Eleven additional counts were added in May.
Kelly was previously tried and acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008. In a bizarre, dramatic interview with Gayle King earlier this year, Kelly denied the allegations against him. He is expected to appear in court for his arraignment next week.
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H/T Chicago Tribune
Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.