Judge Rules R. Kelly Will Be Held Without Bond in Federal Case

Hannah Lifshutz

During R. Kelly's hearing at a federal court in Chicago on Tuesday, a judge ruled that the singer will be held without bond, per the Chicago Sun-TimesThe singer entered a not guilty plea. 

While mounting the argument that Kelly should not be released from custody, a federal prosecutor called the singer a "danger to the community, especially to minor girls." Prosecutors argued that given Kelly's high-profile status, he would pose a flight-risk should he be released on bail. 

“This risk of obstruction is real. This risk is ongoing. This risk is heightened by the defendant’s fame and power," an assistant U.S. attorney told Judge Harry Leinenweber. He continued by noting that Kelly, “has a unique ability to influence and intimidate witnesses and victims, and that continues to this day.”

Kelly's next hearing in Illinois takes place Sept. 4.

The defendant's attorney, Steve Greenberg, argued that his client does not pose any of the risks laid out by the prosecutors. “Unlike his most famous song—'I Believe I Can Fly’—Mr. Kelly doesn’t like to fly,” Greenberg told the judge. “How could he flee? He has no money. There’s no evidence that he’s a risk to minors at all at this point.”

Prosecutors argued that house arrest doesn't eliminate the risk Kelly poses to minor girls. “The defendant can entice girls to his own doorstep, he doesn’t have to leave his home to do that,” an attorney told the judge. 

The hearing arrives days after federal prosecutors in New York and Chicago unveiled two federal indictments against Kelly that could land him in prison for the rest of his life. The singer is facing 18 combined counts for alleged sexual crimes against 10 victims. Last week, federal agents arrested the singer outside his Trump Tower apartment in Chicago on a 13-count indictment which includes charges of child pornography, enticement of a minor, and obstruction of justice.

In New York, prosecutors unveiled an additional indictment one day after Kelly's arrest in Illinois on charges of racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which prohibits anyone from transporting individuals for any criminal sexual activity. Kelly has yet to be arraigned on the New York charges, which prosecutors said Tuesday will take place sometime between now and Sept. 4.