Disgraced singer R. Kelly was denied bail by a judge on federal sex trafficking charges in Brooklyn federal court on Friday.
Kelly, 52, entered a not-guilty plea at his morning arraignment on charges he allegedly manipulated, enslaved, and sexually abused women and girls for almost two decades.
The charges followed a 13-count indictment from federal prosecutors in Chicago alleging similar conduct last month. He also pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Greeting him outside of court on Friday were throngs of fans wearing homemade “Free R. Kelly” shirts. Inside court, Kelly wore blue scrubs and a neon orange t-shirt, remaining silent as his lawyers entered his plea.
Despite the over two dozen supporters in the courtroom, Kelly only looked toward two of his live-in girlfriends, Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, nodding his head and smiling at them throughout the hearing.
Judge Steven Tiscione call Kelly’s “history of similar allegations dating back more than a decade... very troubling” and denied him bail while he waits to stand trial.
“No one wants to be confined but Mr. Kelly is very optimistic, upbeat, he has a lot of faith,” his attorney, Steve Greenberg, told The Daily Beast outside the courtroom.
Kelly is currently being held without bond in Illinois and is expected to return to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center later Friday afternoon.
New York prosecutors allege that beginning in 1999, Kelly and members of his entourage pursued women and girls to recruit them to “engage in illegal sexual activity” with him. Five unidentified victims are listed in the indictment, three of whom prosecutors say were underage when they were allegedly abused.
Prosecutors also allege Kelly tried to control these individuals, allegedly barring them from leaving their rooms without his permission and forcing them to refer to him as “Daddy.”
“Kelly isolated the women and girls from their friends and family,” the indictment charges.
Jane Doe No. 2, who was 16 at the time, was allegedly targeted by a member of Kelly’s entourage at a fast-food restaurant, according to a memo from prosecutors requesting Kelly’s detention before trial. She alleges that when she was in her early twenties, Kelly routinely locked her inside a room at his recording studio after traveling to interview Kelly for business purposes.
“After a member of the Enterprise provided her with food and drink, she became tired and dizzy,” the memo states. “She woke up some time thereafter to the defendant with her in the bedroom in circumstances that made clear he had sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious.”
The indictment also alleges the singer exposed one woman to an infectious venereal disease in 2017-18, which he failed to tell the woman about prior to having unprotected sex. Kelly later allegedly told the same woman, who met the singer when she was 19 years old, “that if she was really 15 or 16 years old, she could tell him, suggesting he would have preferred for Jane Doe #5 to be younger,” according to the indictment.
Kelly has long been accused by young, mostly black women of physically, mentally, and sexually abusing them for nearly two decades without major legal ramifications.
In 2002, Kelly was initially indicted on 21 counts of child pornography in Illinois over another video made in the late '90s allegedly showing him engaged in sex acts with a 13-year-old girl, though several were later dropped.
After less than a day of deliberation, a jury acquitted him on all 14 counts.
Two years later, Lifetime aired a six-hour docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, in which several of his alleged victims made accusations similar to those in the New York indictment. “He told me to perform sexual acts while his friends were in the backseat. It was like he owned me,” Lizzette Martinez said in the documentary. “He stole my life from me.”
In an explosive interview on CBS This Morning after his February arrest by Illinois authorities on state charges, Kelly forcefully denied all allegations—and said he was victim targeted by a national smear campaign.
“I didn’t do this stuff! This is not me!” Kelly said during the interview while staring directly into the camera.