A Chicago prosecutor said Monday that she’s dropping sex-abuse charges against singer R Kelly, following federal convictions in two courts that ensure the disgraced R&B star will be locked up for decades.
Cook county state’s attorney Kim Foxx announced the decision a day ahead of a court hearing related to state charges accusing him of sexually abusing four people, three of whom were minors. Foxx said she would ask a judge to dismiss the charges at Tuesday’s hearing.
She acknowledged that the decision “may be disappointing” to women who stepped forward to accuse Kelly of crimes.
“Mr Kelly is looking at the possibility of never walking out of prison again…We believe justice has been served,” Foxx said.
Since Kelly was indicted in Cook county in 2019, federal juries in Chicago and New York have convicted him of a raft of crimes, including child pornography, enticement, 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 23 February in Chicago federal court. He is appealing those convictions. Based on the New York sentence alone, the 56-year-old won’t be eligible for release until he is around 80.
Another sexual-misconduct case is pending in Hennepin county, Minnesota, where the Grammy Award-winner faces solicitation charges. That case, too, has been on hold while the federal cases played out. Minnesota prosecutors haven’t said whether they still intend to take Kelly to trial.
Prosecutors sometimes choose to go ahead with more trials out of a concern that convictions elsewhere could be reversed during appeals.
Known for his smash hit I Believe I Can Fly and for sex-infused songs such as Bump n’ Grind, Kelly sold millions of albums even after allegations about his abuse of young girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s. 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 release of the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R Kelly.