R. Kelly will no longer face a series of pending sex abuse charges in his native Illinois.
In February 2019, the disgraced R&B singer was charged in Cook County with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims — three of whom were under the age of consent — stemming from alleged incidents that occurred between 1998 and 2010.
Later that year, he was indicted on separate federal sex crimes in New York and Chicago, both of which have seen him found guilty at trial. Kelly is currently serving 30 years in prison for his convictions in New York and faces several more decades behind bars when he will be sentenced in Chicago next month.
As Cook County State’s attorney Kim Foxx announced during a press conference on Monday (January 30), though, her office is dropping the state-level charges against the “Ignition” singer.
Foxx explained that the decision stemmed from a reprioritization of their “limited resources and court time” and said that due to Kelly’s 30-year sentence in New York and pending sentence in Chicago, she believes “justice has been served.”
“Mr. Kelly is potentially looking at the possibility of never walking out of prison again for the crimes that he’s committed,” she said. “This office, in the pursuit of justice for the victims in our indictment as well as those across the country, worked tirelessly to get us to this point. While today’s cases are no longer being pursued, we believe that justice has been served.”
Foxx also acknowledged that the news may come as a disappointment to the survivors who were hoping to have their day in court, but commended their “bravery and relentless pursuit of justice” while also reassuring sexual assault victims that their allegations are taken “seriously.”
“I want to make sure that the announcement today and the fact that we are no longer going to continue to pursue these cases is not an indication that we don’t see them,” she emphasized. “We believe in a victim-centered approach where we recognize the needs of our survivors, and recognize that sometimes justice is served even when there is no conviction.”
R. Kelly may be off the hook in Cook County, but the singer still faces state-level charges for engaging in prostitution with a minor in Minnesota. Prosecutors claim that following a concert in Minneapolis in July 2001, Kelly invited a girl up to his hotel room and paid her $200 to dance for him naked.
Kelly allegedly removed his clothes as well and engaged in “sexual contact” with the girl, who was under the age of 18 but above the age of 16 at the time.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman (who recently stepped down) admitted in 2019 when the charges were filed that the case might be difficult to prosecute considering the alleged incident took place almost 20 years ago, as well as Kelly’s higher-priority federal cases in New York and Chicago.
But he appeared to dismiss the possibility of dropping the charges, saying that “Minnesota victims deserve their day in court.”
“We always want to charge cases in which police have done the investigation, in which we believe a crime is committed…and we do,” Freeman said at a press conference. “Some might say, ‘Are you piling on?’ He’s got federal charges in New York [and Illinois]…Well, frankly, Minnesota victims deserve their day in court.”
“In my view, too many prosecutors are ignoring victims. This office doesn’t,” he continued. “It doesn’t disturb me whatsoever that it may not go to trial, as long as he spends time for the crimes he’s committed elsewhere — but I can’t be sure of that unless I’m at the table. And by charging this case, we are at the table.”