A judge in Chicago ordered R. Kelly to be detained without bond on Tuesday after prosecutors argued he is an "extreme danger" to minor girls and a flight risk following his indictments last week on 18 charges related to his alleged sex cult involving underage girls.
Kelly faces federal charges in Illinois and New York that include sexual exploitation of children, child pornography, racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor, trafficking women and girls interstate for sex, and conspiracy to defraud the US.
He has remained in custody since his arrest on Thursday. Before the court hearing on Tuesday, Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, said his client was "obviously not a flight risk" because he had known the charges were coming and "he hasn’t fled."
"Unlike his most famous song — 'I Believe I Can Fly' — Mr. Kelly doesn't like to fly," Greenberg told the judge during the hearing.
Prosecutors argued for Kelly to be held without bond, saying, "He is an extreme danger to the community, especially to minor girls."
"He sexually assaulted those girls hundreds of times," prosecutors said, according to reporters who attended the hearing.
Greenberg has also denied the latest round of charges, saying they are based on a rehash of prior allegations. The singer pleaded not guilty to the 13 federal charges brought by the US Attorney's Office in Chicago. He is yet to be arraigned on the five New York charges.
In February, Kelly was arrested on 10 state counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He was also arrested in March and sent back to jail over $161,663 in unpaid child support.
In the latest cases, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn allege Kelly led a cult-like organization that recruited women and underage girls for illegal sexual activity. He faces five counts of racketeering based on sexual exploitation of minors, kidnapping, forced labor, and coercion of five “Jane Does,” with incidents ranging from 1999 to 2018.
In Chicago, prosecutors allege that Kelly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover tapes that showed him having sex with the girls, instructed a girl to lie to police, and paid off the family involved in his 2008 trial to also lie to investigators.
On Monday, attorney Michael Avenatti — famous for formerly representing porn actor Stormy Daniels in her case against President Trump — said at a press conference that Kelly paid $2 million to keep the alleged victim in a child pornography case off the witness stand during his 2008 trial, in which he was found not guilty.
"R. Kelly bought his acquittal," said Avenatti, who faces his own mounting legal troubles after being charged in California and New York with stealing money from clients and attempting to extort Nike.