R Kelly pleads “not guilty” to ten charges of aggravated sexual abuse

Kelly is struggling to come up with 10% of the $1M dollar bail money

R Kelly has pleaded “not guilty” to ten charges of aggravated sexual assault in a Chicago court this morning.

The 52-year-old singer was granted bond ahead of his next court appearance on March 22, but has not as yet been able to find 10% of the money required for him to meet bail conditions, and so remains in custody.

Last week, Judge John Lyke Jr set the bond on the singer’s release from custody at $1m at the first court hearing into the singer’s 10 charges of sexual abuse. He also ordered that Kelly and his associates are not to contact the four women who have accused Kelly of sexual offences, nor any women under the age of 18. He was further ordered to hand in his passport to prevent him from attempting to flee the US.

R Kelly handed himself into authorities last week

Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg had previously asked for a lower bail sum, arguing that the singer has financial difficulties. Greenberg said Kelly’s ongoing legal issues has left his finances in a “mess” but added that he hoped the singer would be able to post bail by Tuesday. Greenberg said confidants were making arrangements to pay the 10% of the £$1M sum needed to release the singer on bail.

On hearing that his client had to surrender his passport, Greenberg joked: “Contrary to the song, he doesn’t like to fly,” a reference to ‘I Believe I Can Fly’. The lawyer went on to blame mismanagement and bad contracts for his clients difficulties.

Meanwhile, attorney Michael Avanatti, who is said to represent two of the alleged victims, said his legal team will provide a second video on Monday that allegedly shows Kelly assaulting another minor.

In the indictment for the case, Kelly has been accused of “sexual penetration” of women aged 13-16. The age of consent in Illinois, where the charges have been filed, is 17. If convicted, the singer could face between 30 and 70 years in prison.

Last week (February 22), State Attorney Kim Foxx outlined the charges against Kelly. Four charges relate to a girl identified as HW between May 1998-1999. Two charges relate to a girl identified as RL from September 1998-September 2001. Another, LC alleges sexual abuse took place on February 18, 2003.

The most recent case in the charges comes from a victim who has been identified as JP. Three charges are based on her claims of sexual abuse from May 2009-January 2010.

R Kelly

After the hearing, Greenberg told reporters that Kelly did not force anyone to have sex, saying: “He’s a rock star. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex.”

Last week, new claims were made against the star by two more woman. Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington claim they were 15 and 16 respectively when Kelly plied them with drugs and alcohol and had sex with the older girl while she was intoxicated. The women claim the incident happened after they were picked out of the crowd by security staff at one of Kelly’s Baltimore concerts in “either 1995 or 1996”, the BBC has reported.

Claims of sexual abuse have plagued Kelly for decades, but were brought into the light once more recently following the release of docuseries Surviving R Kelly, which featured interviews with Kelly’s alleged victims and recently had its debut on TV in the UK.

In January, Kelly issued a statement through Greenberg also denying all the allegations: “The allegations aren’t true because he never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone.”

Kelly has previously denied all accusations of sexual abuse.