R. Kelly released from jail after posting bail

He has been locked up all weekend on sex abuse charges.

February 25, 2019, 6:21 PM

R&B singer R. Kelly was released from a Chicago jail after $100,000 bail was posted on Monday.

Kelly, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple sexual assault counts, including charges he preyed on underage girls, surrendered to police last Friday.

PHOTO: R. Kelly performing during a concert in Amsterdam, April 19, 2011.
R. Kelly performing during a concert in Amsterdam, April 19, 2011.
Ade Johnson/EPA via Shutterstock

Kelly was instructed by Judge Lawrence Flood of the Circuit Court of Cook County to refrain from contacting the victims or witnesses in the case and staying away from anyone under the age of 18.

He was ordered to return to court on March 22.

His lawyer, Steve Greenberg, informed the judge that Kelly turned over his passport to the court clerk on Saturday.

"No one wants to be in jail. But he's strong ... he knows what kind of fight he's in for," Greenberg told reporters outside the courtroom, adding that Kelly was being held in a jail hospital for his own safety.

Some of R. Kelly's female fans have been calling Chicago's Cook County courthouse clerk to inquire about helping to pay the $100,000 Kelly needs to meet his $1 million bond and be released, according to Chicago Tribune reporter Will Lee.

Attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing six people related to the case, said he met with prosecutors Monday and turned over a video his legal team says it obtained during a 10-month investigation and that he claims shows R. Kelly engaged in the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl.

"This man deserves to be locked up for the rest of his life," Avenatti said of Kelly. "And the fact of the matter is, and I'm going to call it like I see it, had these victims not been black and had they not come from, in many cases, disadvantaged households or households of lower socioeconomic status, this guy would not be walking free today."

He blasted Greenberg for calling the victims in the case liars.

"All of these young girls are not lying, ladies and gentlemen," Avenatti said during a news conference at the Chicago courthouse on Monday. "It is impossible and it is outrageous for Mr. Greenberg and other enablers of Mr. Kelly to suggest that all of these young ladies ... are lying about this conduct."

Greenberg bristled at Avenatti's statements about him and his client.

"I don't know why someone is attacking me, they don't know me they don't know my work," Greenberg said. "It's not about me. It's about the evidence. It's about the facts. And because someone stands in front of all of you and says, 'I know someone should be locked up...' that's not how our system works. Let us let the system work and an attorney, of all people, should be waiting."

He said he has not seen any of the videotapes involved in the case, and suggested that Avenatti should be investigated for viewing purported child pornography, saying that under Illinois law, "each instance of that is in fact, in my opinion, a criminal act."

Greenberg told the judge on Saturday that his client's finances are "a mess."

Even if Kelly wrote a $100,000 check, it could take considerable time before his bank can satisfy court officials that he has those funds available, Chicago-area defense attorney Joseph Lopez told the Associated Press.

On Saturday, a Chicago judge ordered $1 million bond for Kelly after the singer surrendered on Friday night and was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse.

Kelly was indicted on Friday for sexual assault and abuse against four victims, three of whom were under the age of 17 over the course of a decade. Bail was set for $250,000 for each case.

Kelly did not react during the hearing on Saturday. He sat with a straight look on his face, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with his hands crossed behind his back throughout the hearing. Kelly only spoke with his lawyer while Cook County Judge John Lyke Jr. reviewed the charges, calling the prosecutors' claims “disturbing.”

Greenberg told the judge his client wasn’t a flight risk because “contrary to the song ['I Believe I Can Fly'], he doesn’t like to fly.”

Greenberg added: “He can’t go anywhere anyways. He’s a recognizable person.”

The 52-year-old embattled star, whose given name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, had turned himself into Chicago police late Friday. A booking photo showed Kelly in a black hooded sweatshirt sporting a salt-and-pepper beard.

Prosecutors on Saturday released documents outlining the allegations against Kelly.

The singer met a girl at her 16th birthday party in 1998, according to prosecutors, who say his manager gave the teen Kelly’s business card and suggested she contact him. The girl’s mother overheard the conversation and took the card, but her daughter later retrieved it from her mother’s purse, according to the documents, which say that the teen contacted Kelly, and the two allegedly got together periodically and had sex for a year.

Another accuser was 16 when she met Kelly during his 2008 child pornography trial and he gave her an autograph, according to the documents. The pair later met at the artist’s Chicago apartment where they allegedly had sex and Kelly allegedly choking her and spitting on her.

In 2003, a 24-year-old hairdresser intended to braid the singer’s hair, but instead the R & B star allegedly tried to force her to perform oral sex on him and allegedly spit in her face, according to prosecutors.

Kelly's supporters Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, who are living with the singer, attended the hearing on Saturday. Parents of both women claimed in the Lifetime series "Surviving R. Kelly,” that Kelly is holding their daughters against the women's wills. The three-part documentary chronicled decades of troubling allegations and brought renewed media attention and scrutiny on the singer.

PHOTO: R. Kelly turns himself in at 1st District police headquarters in Chicago, Feb. 22, 2019.
R. Kelly turns himself in at 1st District police headquarters in Chicago, Feb. 22, 2019.
Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune via AP

The women initially sat one row in front of Azriel’s father, Angelo Clary, who tried to speak with them. They both ignored him, never acknowledging him or even turning around. Then they changed seats, moving one row ahead to avoid him. Avenatti comforted Azriel’s mother after they were rejected by their daughter.

Several other people — men and women — stood in the last two rows in support of Kelly.

Jerhonda Pace — one of Kelly's accusers — was also in attendance.

The alleged criminal behavior dates back to May 1998 and continued until January 2010, said Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx announced at a press conference on Friday. The indictment details accounts of vaginal and oral penetration of and ejaculation onto the victims by the singer.

"Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony with a sentencing range of 3-7 years and is probationable," Foxx's office wrote in a statement.

Greenberg also said that in indicting Kelly, Foxx caved into public pressure.

"I had a discussion with the state's attorney’s office earlier this week [and] we were supposed to meet next week and have a discussion about what they had," he said. "I was gonna be allowed to address what they had, then they just decided to indict him today for whatever reason. I suspect this is succumbing to public pressure."

PHOTO: R. Kelly (left) in Cook Court Superior Court with his attorney Steve Greenberg (center) as they appeared before Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. (middle).
R. Kelly (left) in Cook Court Superior Court with his attorney Steve Greenberg (center) as they appeared before Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. (middle). Kelly was arraigned on a 10-count indictment for sex-related crimes. Judge Lyke set bail at $1 million bond.
Thomas Gianni

Greenberg also claimed one of the victims is the same person in a 2003 child pornography case in which Kelly was acquitted in 2008.

"One of the cases seems to be a rehash he was acquitted for. Double jeopardy should apply to everyone," Greenberg said.

During Saturday's hearing, prosecutors told the judge there is no case of double jeopardy involving the victim from Kelly’s previous acquittal because "it is not the same video."

Kelly is also facing at least three different federal investigations including at least one focusing on his alleged relationships with underage girls, who may have been trafficked, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Sources told ABC News that the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the IRS have opened investigations after “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired on Lifetime starting Jan. 3.

All three agencies declined to comment.

HSI is looking at potential crimes involving sex trafficking and child exploitation. The investigations were first reported by The New Yorker, by Jim DeRogatis, who has been reporting on R. Kelly for almost 20 years.

PHOTO: R. Kelly, seen in his mugshot after surrendering to Chicago police on Feb. 22, 2019, has been indicted on 10 counts of felony criminal sexual abuse.
R. Kelly, seen in his mugshot after surrendering to Chicago police on Feb. 22, 2019, has been indicted on 10 counts of felony criminal sexual abuse.
Chicago Police Department

On Thursday, two more women, Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington, said they were victims of R. Kelly. Their attorney, Gloria Allred, said the women spoke with federal prosecutors.

"Yesterday, I indicated that my two clients who held a press conference here in New York would be speaking to law enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and they did in fact have that interview," Allred told WABC.

'No question'

In addition, Avenatti, who is representing two alleged victims of Kelly, said he gave Cook County prosecutors a video depicting the singer allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old.

"Earlier this month we uncovered and recovered a video tape of over 40 minutes in length," Avenatti said at a press conference Friday. "We promptly brought it to the attention of Ms. Foxx and others in her office. This tape leaves no question as to whether R. Kelly is guilty of multiple sexual illegal acts against a 14-year-old girl. The tape was shot in the late '90s, approximately 1999, [and] it depicts two separate scenes shot on two separate days within Mr. Kelly's residence at the time."

"Repeatedly on the video both the victim and Mr. Kelly refer to the victim's age as being 14," Avenatti said. "That occurs in excess of 10 separate times on the video, both the victim and Mr. Kelly can be heard referencing her age."

Greenberg said he hadn't seen the video, but denied the allegation.

"Unfortunately, the state's attorney now succumbed to public pressure, to pressure from grandstanders like Michael Avenatti," Greenberg said.

ABC News' Ahmad Hemingway, Stephanie Wash and Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

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