FRIENDS of R Kelly have handed more than 20 videos of the star having sex with underage girls to police, it has been reported.
Members of the singers entourage are thought to have given the footage to federal prosecutors.
Separate indictments filed in federal courts in Chicago and New York on Friday allege the R&B star, real name Robert Kelly, transported women and girls across state lines sex, kept them under his control, and then paid off and threatened victims and witnesses.
Accusations of sexual misconduct have swirled around Kelly for years, and he was already facing sexual abuse charges brought by prosecutors in the state of Illinois in February.
He denies all charges.
Gerald Griggs, representing the family of one of Kelly’s alleged victims, told TMZ that the tapes depicted multiple victims and that prosecutors had confirmed with witnesses that the girls were underage.
He added the tapes were exactly what was needed to secure indictments for sex crimes, including child pornography.
Kelly was arrested on Thursday evening while walking his dog in Chicago and appeared before a judge on Friday.
He will remain in federal custody at least until Tuesday, when he’s scheduled for a detention hearing.
Prosecutors want him held without bail.
KIDNAPPING, FORCED LABOUR, AND SEXUAL ABUSE
The indictment filed in Chicago on Friday alleged that Kelly had arranged for a girl and her parents to travel overseas to prevent them from talking with police prior to a 2002 indictment on 21 counts of child pornography.
It also said he later instructed them to lie to a grand jury about the case.
Kelly was acquitted in 2008 of the charges, which accused him of recording a video of sex acts with the girl, who was 12 or 13 when they met in the mid-1990s.
The indictment filed on Friday in New York included charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labour, and the sexual exploitation of a child, allegedly committed over the course of two decades.
It said 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 allegedly 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.
‘EMBOLDENED BY FAME’
Gloria Allred, representing three of the women identified in the indictment, said: “This is a very positive day for those who allege that they are victims of Mr. Kelly, and it is a day that I’m sure that Mr. Kelly hoped would never come.”
Federal prosecutors said Friday that Kelly had been “emboldened by his fame and the lack of any real consequences”.
The charges come after a major documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, detailing allegations of sexual abuse.
The six-part programme was released in January of this year, featured interviews with Kelly’s alleged victims as well as fellow musicians Chance the Rapper and John Legend.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, said the latest charges were “not a surprise” and that Kelly should be allowed to post bail.
“It’s the worst kept secret he was going to get charged federally, and he hasn’t fled,” he said following Friday’s hearing.
He also accused the federal government of “piling on” with the new charges and described his client as unflappable despite a series of indictments in recent months.
“I’m amazed he hasn’t had a complete breakdown in the face of all of this pressure,” he said.
Greenberg also questioned the testimony of victims.
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“They’ve charged him in New York with enticing people and encouraging people to have sex with him,” he said.
“I don’t think people accidentally have sex so I’m not really sure what the criminal activity is there.”
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