CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago prosecutor said Monday she is dropping sexual assault charges against singer R. Kelly following federal convictions in two courts that should ensure the disgraced R&B star stays locked up for decades.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced the decision a day before a hearing related to state charges accusing him of sexually abusing four people, three of whom were minors. She said she would ask a judge to dismiss the charges on Tuesday.
Foxx, who in 2019 had pleaded with women and girls to come forward so she could bring charges against Kelly, acknowledged that the decision “may be disappointing” for her accusers.
“Mr. Kelly is potentially considering not being released from prison again for the crimes that he has committed,” the prosecutor said, referring to his federal convictions. “While today’s cases are no longer being pursued, we believe that justice has been served.”
Since Kelly was indicted in Cook County in 2019, federal juries in Chicago and New York have convicted him of a series of crimes, including child pornography, seduction, racketeering and sex trafficking related to allegations that he victimized women. and girls.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is serving a 30-year prison sentence in the New York case and awaits sentencing on February 23 in Chicago federal court. He is appealing those convictions. Based on the New York sentence alone, the 56-year-old will not be eligible for release until he is in his 80s.
Foxx said he contacted Kelly’s attorney two weeks ago to tell him the charges could be dropped. He also spoke with the women whose complaints were at the center of the case.
Foxx praised the “courage it took for them to come forward.”
Messages seeking comment from Kelly’s attorney were not immediately returned.
Prosecutors sometimes choose to go ahead with more trials out of concern that convictions elsewhere could be overturned during appeals. They see an opportunity for additional convictions as insurance.
“We didn’t do a monetary cost-benefit analysis,” Foxx said, adding, however, that the resources spent on a trial could now be used “in defense of other sexual assault survivors.”
Another sexual misconduct case is pending in Hennepin County, Minnesota, where the Grammy Award winner is facing solicitation charges. That case has also been on hold while the federal cases unfolded. Minnesota prosecutors have not said whether they still intend to prosecute Kelly.
Known for his smash hit “I Believe I Can Fly” and sex-infused songs like “Bump n’ Grind,” Kelly sold millions of albums even after allegations of his abuse of girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s. 1990. He beat child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, when a jury acquitted him.
Widespread outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct didn’t emerge until the #MeToo reckoning and the launch of the Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” in early 2019.
Foxx announced the Cook County charges months before the federal cases in New York and Chicago. Foxx’s office alleged that he repeatedly sought out girls for sex, including one he met at her 16th birthday party and another who met Kellyr while he was on trial in 2008.
Federal prosecutors in New York told jury at his 2021 trial that Kelly used his entourage of managers and assistants to get to know the girls and keep them compliant, an operation prosecutors said amounted to a criminal enterprise.
Last year, prosecutors in Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago portrayed him as a master manipulator who used his fame and wealth to ensnare dazzled fans, some of them minors, to sexually abuse and then discard. Four accusers testified.
While prosecutors in that case won convictions on six of the 13 counts against him in that case, the government missed the main count: that Kelly and his then-business manager successfully rigged his 2008 child pornography trial.
Associated Press writer Ed White in Detroit contributed to this story.
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