R. Kelly fails to appear for Chicago court date, prosecutors allege he 'refused transport'
R&B singer R. Kelly missed a status hearing in court Thursday after prosecutors allege he “refused transport” from his Chicago jail cell.
Kelly, 52, was arrested in llinois last month on several charges including child pornography, coercion or enticement and transporting for prositution after prosecutors in several states accused him of using his fame to recruit young women and girls into illegal sexual activity.
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Judge Lawrence Flood wanted answers.
“The defendant was to be brought to court today. That was all worked out. The sheriffs were going to be bringing him over,” Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Gonzalez said, according to an NBC report.
“As I understand it, he refused transport and so that is why the defendant is not before your honor today,” she continued.
But Kelly’s defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, denied the allegation, arguing instead that the singer failed to show because of transportation issues.
“I don’t want to discuss matters that I discussed with the U.S. Marshals Service in open court,” Greenberg told Flood, according to the report. “Suffice it to say, the Marshal Service says that moving Mr. Kelly is a large undertaking.”
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Some of the transportation issues Greenberg could be referencing may include the fact that Kelly is facing several sexual abuse charges in several states, including New York and recently Minnesota.
Kelly faces 40 counts, including two state counts brought against him earlier this month in Minnesota, that carry a combined maximum prison sentence of more than 500 years. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges aside from the new ones. He has not been arraigned on the new charges.
The 21 charges he faces in Illinois accuse him of sexually abusing three girls and a woman over a roughly 10-year period starting in the late 1990s. The two Minnesota charges, prostitution and solicitation, accuse him of inviting a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room in 2001 and paying her $200 to dance naked with him.
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The 13 federal counts brought in Chicago accuse him of, among other things, filming himself having sex with underage girls and of paying off potential witnesses in his 2008 trial to get them to change their stories. The New York federal charges accuse Kelly of running a racketeering enterprise that arranged for girls to have sex with the singer.
Thursday’s hearing proceeded without Kelly but he is due to appear for another status hearing on Sept. 17.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.