Having spent the weekend in jail, troubled singer R. Kelly was able to make bail on Monday after a woman named Valencia Love – described as a fan he met months earlier – arranged the payment for him, multiple outlets report.
Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse on Friday and was taken into custody that same day. A judge then set his bond at $1 million on Saturday, but Kelly remained behind bars, even after entering a not guilty plea. His lawyer Steve Greenberg claimed that the 52-year-old singer’s finances were “a mess,” and that he was having trouble arranging payment of the required 10 percent of the bond needed to secure his freedom. Kelly eventually managed to produce the required amount and was released on Monday, and Don Russell, described by the Chicago Sun-Times as Kelly’s friend and adviser, told the outlet that Love made it happen.
“She wanted Rob to have a chance at justice, and she thought he’d have a better chance outside of jail than inside,” he told the paper.
Love, who identified herself as a "friend" on Kelly's bond slip, met the singer on a Spirit of Chicago cruise on Lake Michigan in September, according to Russell. As news of Kelly’s arrest and reported financial situation began to spread, Love contacted people close to Kelly in order to let them know that she wanted to help, Russell continued. He claimed that Love was even with Kelly’s group when the singer went on a McDonald’s run shortly after being released, and toasted to their friendship during the meal.
When contacted by the Chicago Sun-Times, Love, a 47-year-old corporate officer at a day care facility and former teacher, reportedly challenged parts of Russell’s story. The outlet did not specify which aspects she contested, but did report that she confirmed having paid the bond.
Love similarly confirmed paying the bond during an interview with ABC News. She described Kelly as a “good friend of mine,” and reportedly told the outlet over the phone that she did not use her own money to pay, but Kelly’s.
“It was his own money. I just posted bail for him,” she said.
Love further defended Kelly in an interview with NBC Chicago, reportedly stating that she came to Kelly’s aid because he “needed help.” She wants his case to be heard in court rather than in the media, she said, and claimed that Kelly was getting criticized online for “no good reason.”
Kelly turned heads when he showed up at a local McDonald’s and sat down to eat after his release from jail. Some outlets report that Kelly stopped to sign autographs, and famed attorney Michael Avenatti accused Kelly of violating the judge’s order to not have contact with anyone under the age of 18. Avenatti, who is reportedly representing a number of Kelly’s accusers, has already supplied Chicago prosecutors with two sex tapes allegedly featuring Kelly having sex with a minor, and has suggested that a third tape exists.
Prosecutors have accused Kelly of sexually assaulting three underage girls and one adult woman, according to court documents.
Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, has maintained his innocence throughout the years, even as Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” reignited interest in his alleged crimes. Amid a flurry of new allegations and supposed sex tapes, Greenberg told reporters that Kelly is innocent and claimed that there was a lack of evidence to suggest otherwise, according to NBC Chicago.
“Our position at this point is Mr. Kelly has done absolutely nothing wrong,” Greenberg said on Monday. “No one has shown us any evidence that he has done anything wrong.”
Kelly is scheduled to return to court on March 22.
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