In a bombshell development, R&B superstar R. Kelly was indicted Friday on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, court records show.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx confirmed that Kelly had been charged while announcing she would hold a news conference at 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, a county judge issued a warrant for Kelly’s arrest Friday morning, according to the records.
It was not immediately clear how many alleged victims were involved, but three of the indictments referred to a minor between the ages of 13 and 16, according to the charges.
The charges come after damning allegations in a recent documentary series spurred Foxx to make an unusual public plea last month for any Kelly accusers to come forward, and a recent groundswell of social media backlash called for a boycott of Kelly’s music.
High-profile attorney Michael Avenatti said last week that he had given Foxx’s office a VHS tape showing Kelly engaging in sex years ago with an underage girl.
This marks the second time that Kelly has been charged with a sex crime by Cook County prosecutors. Armed with a sex tape then as well, prosecutors accused the singer of child pornography, but following a sensational trial in 2008, a jury acquitted him of charges alleging he filmed himself having sex with his goddaughter, a girl estimated to have been as young as 13.
Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, has consistently denied allegations of wrongdoing and expressed confidence the singer would be cleared of any possible charges.
CNN has reported that it has seen the tape that Avenatti gave to Cook County prosecutors. The New Yorker and other media outlets also reported on the surfacing of the sex tape.
The charges come weeks after Foxx called on any Kelly accusers to come forward, citing “deeply, deeply disturbing” allegations in the documentary series detailing long-standing accusations of sexual misconduct against the singer.
The six-hour documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” aired on the Lifetime channel and alleged that he has manipulated young women into joining a “sex cult,” forcing them to stay with him against their will and keeping them under his control.
Foxx’s office said it has been inundated with tips after the top prosecutor urged victims to come forward.
While the allegations against Kelly have been long-standing, the singer has largely continued to enjoy widespread support. However, his scheduled performance at the UIC Pavilion last year was canceled after a public outcry, and the recent documentary has helped bring the troubling allegations into the social media spotlight.