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Federal Judge Swayed by Argument R. Kelly Poses ‘Extreme Danger to Community,’ Denies Bail


A federal judge on Tuesday ordered R. Kelly to be held without bail in Illinois as he awaits his upcoming criminal trial on charges that include conspiracy to receive child pornography, receiving child pornography, and enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. Kelly has entered a plea of not guilty.

Federal prosecutors in both Brooklyn and Chicago charged Kelly with a total of 18 criminal counts allegedly committed against 10 victims last week.

Authorities in Brooklyn indicted him, alleging that Kelly sexually abused minor girls in multiple states across the country, while Chicago prosecutors charged Kelly with violating federal racketeering laws stemming from allegations that he paid thousands of dollars in cash to recover pornographic videos featuring underage girls that he had previously lost. Authorities charged him for possession of child pornography and obstructing justice.

Appearing before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber at Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago, Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg employed a unique approach in attempting to convince the court that his client was neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community, according to Variety.

Greenberg told Judge Leinenweber that, “Unlike his most famous song, ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ Mr. Kelly doesn’t like to fly.”

“How could he flee? He has no money. There’s no evidence that he’s a risk to minors at all at this point,” Greenberg said.

Federal prosecutors, on the other hand, argued that if set free, Kelly’s past conduct has already established that he poses a serious risk to the community and could even attempt to thwart the government’s case against him.

“This risk of obstruction is real. This risk is ongoing. This risk is heightened by the defendant’s fame and power,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull said, adding that Kelly “has a unique ability to influence and intimidate witnesses and victims, and that continues to this day.”

Federal prosecutors also characterized Kelly as “an extreme danger to the community, especially to minor girls,” when arguing he be remanded to back to prison.

Krull told the court that the government’s investigation into Kelly’s unlawful conduct was “far from over,” and noting that prosecutors possessed three videos showing Kelly engaging in “sadomasochistic abuse” of a 14-year-old girl.

Kelly still faces state charges in Illinois for criminal sexual abuse charges.

[Image via Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.