Judge orders R. Kelly held in jail without bond in sex case

FILE - In this June 6, 2019, file photo, singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 additional sex-related felonies during a court hearing before Judge Lawrence Flood at Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. Kelly, who was arrested in Chicago on July 11, 2019 on a federal grand jury indictment listing 13 counts including sex crimes and obstruction of justice, was ordered held without bond on Tuesday, July 16. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered R. Kelly held in jail without bond after a prosecutor warned that the singer accused of having sex with minors and trying to cover up the crimes would pose an extreme danger to young girls if set free.

“If he was attracted to middle school girls in 1999 then he’s still attracted to middle school girls,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull told U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber. “That’s who the defendant is and that, your honor, makes him a danger today.”

Leinenweber said that under federal law Kelly would have to prove that he was not a danger to the public and Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, had failed to do so.

Kelly was arrested while walking his dog in Chicago last week and faces an array of sex-related charges in Chicago and New York . Appearing in court wearing an orange jumpsuit and shacked at the ankles, he said only two words, “Yes, sir,” when the judge asked him if he understood the charges. Two women who recently lived with Kelly, Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, attended the court hearing Tuesday.

The ruling Tuesday means that Kelly, who pleaded not guilty to the charges contained in the Chicago indictment , will remain in custody to face a separate indictment in New York. He is charged there with racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child.

It was unclear when that hearing would be held and if he would have to be transported to New York for the hearing, or could appear via a video linkup from Chicago.

The decision to deny bond also raised the possibility that the 52-year-old Kelly could spend the rest of his life behind bars. Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago, said that “each of the federal indictments could take one to two years to go to trial.”

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