There were decades of allegations. There was a criminal trial on charges of child pornography. There were hashtag campaigns and open letters. There was a high-profile series documenting the stories of his alleged victims. Now, there is a no-bail warrant out for Robert “R.” Kelly on 10 counts of aggravated child sexual abuse, approved by a Cook County judge on Friday.
In a press conference, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx explained the charges, which involve four different victims, three of whom were under 17 when Kelly assaulted them. As CNN reports, the incidents of sexual abuse listed in the indictment date as far back as 1998, with the most recent occurring on Jan. 31, 2010.
Earlier this week, attorney Michael Avenatti confirmed the existence of a video allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. As news of the charges rolled in early Friday afternoon, the prominent attorney tweeted, “it’s over.”
“The day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived,” Avenatti wrote.
Kelly’s first court date is slated for March 8, according to court records. CNN reports the singer could face up to 70 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Kelly was recently released by his record label, RCA, following a backlash against the singer spurred by the dream hampton-helmed docu-series Surviving R. Kelly. The documentary contained no new allegations against the singer but focused on sharing the stories of survivors who said Kelly had groomed, coerced, and abused them for years—with the aid of his inner circle.
Updated Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, at 5:49 p.m. EST:
Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, released a statement regarding the indictment brought against R. Kelly on Friday.
“Today, an unrepentant R. Kelly will have to account for the harm he committed against a number of survivors,” said Burke, who was among the subjects interviewed for the Surviving R. Kelly documentary that aired earlier this year. “This is due to the hard work of the activists and movement builders who have been fighting to tell their stories for many years,” she said. “This moment is an example of what a movement, when equipped with people power and resilience, can achieve. But the work is not over.”
Kelly is also the subject of multiple federal investigations, including the Department of Homeland Security, according to the New Yorker. DHS’ sex trafficking unit is compiling evidence in a case that will go before a grand jury in New York soon, reports the outlet. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official confirmed the investigation to CNN, though it’s unclear whether ICE itself is involved in the DHS case.
This is a developing story and will be updated.