CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago prosecutor said Monday she was dropping sexual abuse charges against singer R. Kelly following federal convictions in two courts that are expected to ensure the disgraced R&B star will be locked up for decades.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced the decision a day before a hearing on state charges accusing him of sexually abusing four people, including three minors. She said she would ask a judge to dismiss the indictments on Tuesday.
Foxx, who in 2019 pleaded with women and girls to come forward so she could press charges against Kelly, acknowledged the decision “may be disappointing” for her accusers.
“Mr. Kelly is potentially considering the possibility of never getting out of prison again for the crimes he committed,” the prosecutor said, referring to his federal convictions. “While today’s cases are no longer prosecuted, we believe justice has been served.”
Since Kelly was charged in Cook County in 2019, federal juries in Chicago and New York found him guilty of a range of crimes including child pornography, incitement, racketeering and sex trafficking related to allegations he victimized women and girls .
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is serving a 30-year prison sentence in the New York case and await judgment on February 23 in Chicago federal court. He is appealing these convictions. Based on the New York sentence alone, the 56-year-old will not be eligible for release until he is around 80 years old.
Foxx said she contacted Kelly’s attorney two weeks ago to let him know the charges could be dropped. She also spoke to the women whose allegations were central to the case.
Foxx praised the “courage it took for them to come forward”.
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said she was “satisfied” with the prosecution’s decision to drop the charges.
“He has only one life to give. So I don’t know how many sentences upon sentences would satisfy people,” Bonjean said.
Lanita Carter, who said she was sexually assaulted by R. Kelly in February 2003, said she was “extremely disappointed” by the news.
“I spent almost 20 years hoping that my abuser would be brought to justice for what he did to me. With today’s announcement, all hope of justice for my case is gone,” said Carter said, adding that she trusted Foxx and her office with her story and spent four years preparing to confront Kelly to no avail.
“Justice has been denied to me,” she said.
Prosecutors sometimes choose to go ahead with more trials for fear that convictions elsewhere could be overturned on appeals. They see an opportunity for additional convictions as insurance.
“We haven’t done a monetary cost-benefit analysis,” Foxx said, adding, however, that the resources spent on a lawsuit could now be used “to defend other survivors of sexual abuse.”
Another sexual misconduct case is pending in Hennepin County, Minnesota, where the Grammy Award winner faces solicitation charges. That case was also put on hold while federal business unfolded. Minnesota prosecutors have not said whether they still intend to prosecute Kelly.
Known for his hit ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and sex-infused songs such as ‘Bump n’ Grind’, Kelly sold millions of albums even after allegations of his abusing young girls began to surface. 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 account and the release of the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” in early 2019.
Foxx announced the Cook County charges months before federal cases in New York and Chicago. Foxx’s office alleged he repeatedly sought out girls for sex, including one he met at his 16th birthday party and another who met Kelly during his 2008 trial .
Federal prosecutors in New York told jurors at his 2021 trial that Kelly used his entourage of managers and assistants to meet girls and keep them obedient, an operation that prosecutors say amounted to a criminal enterprise.
Last year, prosecutors in Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago described him as a master manipulator who used his fame and wealth to lure adoring fans, some of them minors, into sexually abusing and then shunning them. Four accusers testified.
While prosecutors in that case won convictions on six of the 13 counts against him in that case, the government lost the count – which Kelly and his then business manager managed to fake. his trial for child pornography in 2008.
Associated Press reporter Ed White in Detroit contributed to this story.
Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mtarm and check out AP’s coverage of the R. Kelly trials at https://apnews.com/hub/r-kelly