R.Kelly faced a wide range of legal trouble in Illinois, however, after an arrest last week, the singer-songwriter's woes have taken a new turn, which may result in a lengthy--if not--life sentence.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and Illinois have charged the 52-year-old with racketeering and child pornography due to allegations Kelly, with the help of former employees, recruited and transported underage girls across state lines to molest them and create pornography. Kelly also instructed the minors to not testify against him.
Kelly was previously released on $1 million bail, however, Los Angeles attorney Lou Shapiro said due to the gravity of the new charges, Kelly will most likely stay inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
“His life is on the line now,” Shapiro told The Los Angeles Times, "I think he’ll be kept in. Ordinarily, he would be released, but the charges are so egregious, and he has every reason to flee.”
In Brooklyn, federal prosecutor indicted Kelly on five counts including a racketeering charge and four violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits crossing state lines for illegal sexual purposes.
The racketeering charge alleges Kelly committed sex crimes as part of an organized plot which existed under a threat of intimidation. Racketeering is most associated with organized crime and carries a 20-year minimum sentence.
The indictment outlines that the girls Kelly recruited were instructed to wear baggy clothes when they weren't with Kelly, to keep their head down and refer to Kelly as "daddy."
“It goes without saying that with the new federal charges, R. Kelly is not in a position that would cause any envy,” Lara Yeretsian, a criminal defense attorney and founder of Yeretsian Law in Glendale, said. “He is facing up to 20 years for each racketeering count, while the Mann Act violations each have at least 15 to 21 months for each count. This doesn’t even include the decades he is facing in Chicago.”
Shapiro said Kelly's charges stem from dream hampton's Lifetime docu-series Surviving R. Kelly in which the writer-turned-filmmaker outlined Kelly's own childhood molestation, musical beginnings, rise to fame, and his countless sexual assaults against women and girls, including Aaliyah.
“You’re seeing prosecutions rise from a documentary that caused public anger and pressure,” Shapiro said. “It’s a day of reckoning for people who have gotten away in the arena of sex offenses.”