It’s becoming difficult to keep track of all the charges against R. Kelly. Prior to his arrest Thursday night in Chicago, the singer already faced state charges. Now come the federal ones. On Friday, US prosecutors in Chicago and New York unveiled separate indictments of their own. Despite the blizzard of counts and allegations, they paint essentially the same story: Prosecutors say Kelly had sex with underage girls going back two decades; made videotapes of the encounters, and thus child pornography; and used bribes and coercion so the girls and their families would lie to police about all of the above. The 52-year-old faces decades in prison if convicted. The details:
- One example: Prosecutors say Kelly began having sex with one girl who was 12 or 13 and recording their encounters, then paid for her and her family to travel overseas before his 2002 indictment on child pornography charges so she wouldn’t be able to talk to police, per the AP. Kelly was acquitted on those earlier charges, and prosecutors say he kept up the payments to the girl after his trial. Between 1998 and 2002, prosecutors say Kelly engaged in sex with her and four other minors.
- ‘Daddy’: The indictment out of New York accuses Kelly of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor, and the exploitation of a child. Prosecutors say Kelly’s entourage picked out girls who could travel with him, then laid down strict rules for them to follow. For example, they couldn’t leave their rooms without permission, even to use the bathroom or eat; had to call Kelly “Daddy;” and could not look at other men.
- In Chicago: The 13-count indictment unsealed in Chicago indicts Kelly on four counts of producing child pornography, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, and five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, reports NBC Chicago.
- Big money: Prosecutors say Kelly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to various people to recover his child-sex tapes, reports the Chicago Tribune.
- Also charged: Two former Kelly employees also were indicted: ex-business manager Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown. Both face charges of conspiracy to receive child pornography. Prosecutors say the Kelly “criminal enterprise” existed to “promote R. Kelly’s music and the R. Kelly brand and to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly,” says the New York indictment.
- Kelly’s defense: The charges “were not a surprise,” says attorney Steve Greenberg. “The conduct alleged appears to largely be the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr. Kelly in his current State indictment and his former State charges that he was acquitted of. Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old.”
(This is the journalist who broke the story wide open.)