R. Kelly is no longer facing sex-abuse charges following an announcement from Chicago’s top prosecutor.
The R&B singer has been in prison without bail since 2019. He is currently serving a 30-year- sentence for federal sex trafficking charges. Kelly was also convicted in 2021 of racketeering by a federal court in Brooklyn.
Kim Foxx, the Cook County State’s Attorney, announced on Jan. 30 that she will not be pursuing four pending sexual abuse cases.
“Mr. Kelly is looking at the possibility of never walking out of prison again… We believe justice has been served,” Foxx said at a Jan. 30 press conference, per AP News. “I want to make unequivocally clear that we take allegations of sexual abuse and sexual assault seriously.”
Foxx’s office initially filed charges against Kelly after the Lifetime network aired the documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” in January of 2019. Foxx had asked alleged victims to come forward so that she could bring charges against Kelly.
“The state cases involve four women who claim they were victims of abuse by the singer in the 1990s or early 2000s,” reports The Chicago Sun-Times. “Three of the alleged victims were minors at the time of the abuse, and two of them already have testified against Kelly in his federal trials.”
Cook County charged Kelly with child pornography charges in the early 2000s. A jury in Chicago acquitted the singer in 2008.
Kelly is also facing sexual-misconduct charges for solicitation in Hennepin County, Minnesota. That case was halted pending the federal charges brought against Kelly. Minnesota prosecutors have not said if they will move forward with the trial, reports Fox 32.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the federal charges significantly complicated plans to move forward with the current charges against Kelly. According to the outlet:
If they bring him to trial and win, it would have little concrete effect on Kelly, who is expected to spend decades in federal custody no matter what they do. If they lost, it would prove highly embarrassing for the office that announced charges earliest and with great gusto. Either route would have cost significant time and resources, and potentially require victims to relive traumatic moments on a very public witness stand.
Foxx gained national attention and criticism for her handling of the case against Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” actor who staged a hate crime and lied to police. Foxx recused herself from the case in February of 2019 and “her office dropped charges against him related to filing a false police report, saying he was not a threat to public safety” in March of 2019.
“The city’s largest police union … hammered Ms. Foxx, asserting that she had failed to enforce the law and calling on her to resign,” reports The New York Times. “Her supporters said the union attacks were motivated by her increased scrutiny on police misconduct, including vacating more than 90 convictions tied to one corrupt former sergeant, Ronald Watts.”
Fox was first elected in 2016 and was reelected in 2020.
Kelly is currently incarcerated at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.