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Days after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse, disgraced singer R. Kelly has pleaded not guilty.
Kelly entered his plea Monday during the second court appearance since surrendering to police on Friday, CNN reports. Kelly, wearing an orange jumpsuit, was largely silent during the brief hearing except for confirming his name to the judge, according to Chicago’s WBEZ-TV. The singer’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, entered the plea on his behalf. Monday’s hearing also saw Cook County Associate Judge Lawrence Flood assigned to Kelly’s case, according to the outlet.
Kelly, who has reportedly already turned over his passport, is scheduled to appear in court again on March 22, according to CNN.
Kelly has been unable so far to scrounge up the required $100,000 to secure his freedom and spent the weekend in jail after a judge set his bond amount at $1 million and ordered Kelly to have no contact with underage girls should he be released. Greenberg explained that the situation was difficult because Kelly “has to rely on others to act on his behalf,” but he also stated that Kelly “really doesn't have any money at this point,” citing bad business deals and “hangers-on.”
Kelly seems to be facing a world of trouble. Famed attorney Michael Avenatti claimed to have recovered a sex tape that shows Kelly having sex with an underage girl, and on Monday, he reportedly gave prosecutors a second tape with footage of a similar nature, according to the Associated Press. He’s also suggested that a third tape exists.
Prosecutors have thus far accused Kelly of engaging in sexual misconduct with one adult woman and three underage girls between the years of 1998 and 2010. A recently released bond proffer describes Kelly’s alleged encounters with each girl; he allegedly encouraged one 16-year-old to meet at his studio instead of going to school, and he met another young girl years later, while he was on trial in 2008 on child pornography charges. He was also allegedly filmed having sex with one of his teen victims. The only adult victim that prosecutors have mentioned is a 24-year-old hairdresser who claims that Kelly exposed himself to her and tried to force her into giving him oral sex.
Two of the women submitted evidence to police in the form of semen on their shirts that they claim belongs to Kelly. In one case, the semen was positively matched to Kelly’s DNA profile.
Kelly, who was ultimately acquitted in the 2008 case, has again denied all accusations of sexual misconduct, with Greenberg saying last month that the allegations against Kelly were “false.” However, the “Ignition” singer is also potentially facing separate legal battles concerning unpaid child support and unpaid rent, with CNN reporting that Kelly owes $169,000 in unpaid child support as of February and $166,000 in unpaid rent owed to the owner of his music studio in Chicago.
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