As expected, R. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to 11 new charges of sexual assault against a minor at his arraignment earlier today in Cook County, Illinois.
His plea comes a week after prosecutors presented the charges following sexual abuse claims from then-underage female fan, Jerhonda Pace. They had hit the embattled R&B singer with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim between 13 and 16, two counts of criminal sexual assault by force, and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
According to Pace, she met the now 52-year-old singer in 2008 during his highly-publicized child pornography trial. Between May 2009 and January 2010, she had sex with Kelly “multiple” times at his home in Olympia Fields, Illinois. Pace shared her story on the viral exposé, Surviving R. Kelly.
In the state, the four aggravated criminal sexual counts are Class X felonies. These crimes, which are just short of murder in Illinois, carry a sentence of up to 30 years. The three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse are Class 2 felonies in the state. They carry a maximum sentence of 7 years.
Spinning the bad news, Kelly’s defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, explained the new charges aren’t exactly ‘new.’
In Twitter, he vehemently attempted to quell all bad publicity against the singer.
“[Kelly] was NOT charged with a new case. He was recharged in an existing case, same alleged victim and time (a decade ago). It changes nothing.
“These are the same conduct, just charged differently, same alleged victim, same time frame, same facts. We expect the same results.”
Following the not-guilty plea, the judge called his total composite bond of $1 million “sufficient.” Yet, speaking directly to the singer, he warned Kelly to appear in court on June 26th.
“You’re out on bond. It’s incumbent upon you to appear in court on each and every court date.“
Defending his client once more against the serious accusations, Greenberg told reporters at a press conference shortly after the hearing,
“We pled not guilty to all of the charges because he’s not guilty.
“I think he’s feeling positive. It’s tough. Everything is against him.“
Featured image in the Public Domain.