Chicago prosecutor dropping R. Kelly sex-abuse charges

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago prosecutor said Monday that she has accused singer R. Sexual-abuse allegations against Kelly are being dropped. A federal case between two courts—

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Fox announced the decision a day before a hearing related to state charges accusing him of sexually abusing four people, three of whom were minors. She said she will ask a judge to dismiss the charges on Tuesday.

Fox, who pleaded for women and girls to come forward in 2019 so she could pursue allegations against Kelly, admitted the decision could be “disappointing” for his accusers.

“Mr. Kelly is looking at the prospect of potentially never leaving prison again for the crimes he committed,” the prosecutor said, referring to his federal conviction. “While today’s cases are no longer being pursued, we believe justice has been served.”

Since Kelly was convicted in Cook County in 2019, Federal juries in Chicago and New York have indicted him on multiple counts of child pornography, solicitation, fraud and sex trafficking related to allegations that he preyed on women and girls.

Robert Sylvester Kelly, born Kelly, is serving a 30-year prison sentence in the New York case. And awaiting punishment on Feb. 23 in Chicago federal court. He is appealing to those beliefs. Based on New York’s sentence alone, the 56-year-old won’t be eligible for release until around 80.

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Fox said she contacted Kelly’s attorney two weeks ago to indicate that the charges would be dropped. She also spoke to the women whose allegations were at the center of the case.

Fox praised “the courage it took them to come forward.”

Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said she was “pleased” with the prosecutor’s decision to drop the charges.

“He only has one life. So I don’t know how many sentences on sentences will satisfy people,” Bonjean said.

In February 2003, R. Lanita Carter, who claims Kelly sexually assaulted her, is “deeply disappointed” by the news.

“I have spent almost 20 years hoping that my abuser would be brought to justice for what he did to me. “With today’s announcement, all hope of justice for my case ends,” Carter said, adding that she believed Fox and her office with her story and spent four years sticking it out to confront Kelly.

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“Justice has been denied to me,” she said.

Prosecutors sometimes choose to proceed with more trials because of concerns that convictions may be overturned elsewhere on appeal. They see an opportunity for additional trust as insurance.

“We didn’t do an economic cost-benefit analysis,” Fox said, however, adding that resources spent on the trial could now instead be used “advocating for other survivors of sexual assault.”

Another sexual-misconduct case is pending in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Where a Grammy Award winner faces a solicitation fee. That case is also on hold while the federal cases proceed. Minnesota prosecutors have not yet said whether they intend to prosecute Kelly.

Known for his sex-infused songs like his smash hits “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Bump N’ Grind,” Kelly sold millions of albums in the 1990s even after allegations of abuse against young girls became public. He overcame child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, when a jury acquitted him.

Widespread outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct did not emerge until the reckoning of #MeToo and the release of the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” in early 2019.

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Fox announced the Cook County charges months before the federal cases in New York and Chicago. Fox’s office alleges he repeatedly sought out girls for sex, including one at her 16th birthday party and another in 2008 while the trial was underway.

Federal prosecutors in New York told jurors at his 2021 trial that Kelly used his crew of managers and assistants to meet the girls and keep them obedient, an operation prosecutors said was a criminal enterprise.

Last year, attorneys in Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago portrayed him as a master manipulator who used his fame and wealth to lure starlet fans, some of them minors, to sexually exploit them and then discard them. Four accused testified.

Although prosecutors in that case convicted him of 6 of the 13 counts against him, the government lost the marquee count – that Kelly and his business manager successfully rigged a 2008 child pornography trial.


Associated Press reporter Ed White in Detroit contributed to this story.


Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter here And R at Find AP coverage of Kelly’s trials


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