CHICAGO – Prosecutors charged R&B singer R. Kelly on Thursday with 11 new sex-related counts involving one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage, including counts that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, making them the most serious he faces.
Cook County prosecutors charged the Grammy award-winning singer with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault by force, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a victim who was at least age 13 and under 17 at the time.
The four aggravated criminal sexual assault counts carry maximum terms of 30 years in prison. Kelly is due in court to hear the new charges next Thursday.
Kelly was already facing 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four women over roughly a 10-year period that started in the late 1990s. Three of the women were minors when the alleged abuse occurred.
The new charges pertain to a single victim, identified in the court filing by the initials “J.P.” Prosecutors didn’t specify in the filing if she is the same person as one of the original four accusers who was also identified as “J.P.,” but Kelly’s defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, seemed to suggest as much in a tweet Thursday.
Greenberg didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment left by The Associated Press. The AP also couldn’t immediately reach Kelly for comment about the new charges. He pleaded not guilty to the original charges and denied any wrongdoing after his February arrest. He has been free since Feb. 25, when a suburban Chicago woman posted $100,000 bond, or 10% of the $1 million bond the judge set in his case.
According to the new court filing, the first eight counts are from encounters that allegedly occurred between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2010. Three others pertain to alleged encounters between May 1, 2009, and Jan. 31, 2010.
Among other things, prosecutors allege that Kelly used force or threatened to do so to pressure the accuser into sex or to perform oral sex on him. She was underage at the time, extending the statute of limitations for bringing charges to 20 years from her 18th birthday, they wrote.
Kelly doesn’t face federal charges, but attorney Michael Avenatti told the AP on Thursday that he expects the singer to face “serious federal charges” in the coming weeks.
Avenatti, who says he represents three Kelly victims, two parents and two whistleblowers, said he has provided “significant evidence” against Kelly to federal prosecutors in multiple U.S. attorneys’ offices. He declined to say which federal districts would pursue the charges, but he said he and his clients have been cooperating with prosecutors “for the better part of four months.”
Avenatti, who said after Kelly’s arrest that he had turned over video to prosecutors showing Kelly having sex with an underage girl, faces his own serious federal charges, including ones accusing him of trying to shake down Nike and cheating his most famous client, porn star Stormy Daniels, out of $300,000.
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