On Tuesday, troubled singer R. Kelly was ordered held without bail after the singer-songwriter pleaded not guilty in a Chicago U.S. District courtroom to 13 federal charges, including child pornography and obstruction of justice.
Federal prosecutors described the “Down Low” singer as “an extreme danger to the community, especially to minor girls,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
“This risk of obstruction is real. This risk is ongoing. This risk is heightened by the defendant’s fame and power,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull told Judge Harry Leinenweber.
The embattled artist “has a unique ability to influence and intimidate witnesses and victims, and that continues to this day,” Krull said.
However, the singer’s attorney, Steve Greenberg said that if the singer is released from custody, Kelly can be trusted to not flee.
“Unlike his most famous song — ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ — Mr. Kelly doesn’t like to fly,” Greenberg said.
“How could he flee? He has no money,” Greenberg added. “There’s no evidence that he’s a risk to minors at all at this point.”
Last week, Kelly was hit with two indictments from federal prosecutors that broadsided the singer.
The indictments threatened to lock the Chicago native up for the rest of his life.
Kelly faces a combination of 18 counts for alleged crimes against 10 victims, in Brooklyn and Chicago.
His detention hearing and arraignment commenced around 1 p.m. at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.
The media bombarded the lobby of the courthouse hours prior, starting at 9 a.m.
Kelly’s live-in girlfriends, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, were spotted entering the courthouse for the hearing.
There was no technology allowed in the courtroom during the hearing, which resulted in journalists reporting from an overflow room that was separate.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer faces a maximum prison sentence of 195 years in Chicago alone. Some of the charges based in The Windy City carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
Kelly, 52, also faces decades more in New York and the artist already faced state charges that could cause the songwriter to spend 30 years behind bars.
The highly criticized and highly supported artist has been locked up in Metropolitan Correctional Center located in downtown Chicago ever since he was arrested by federal agents while he was walking his dog on Thursday (July 11).
Kelly’s lawyer wants his client out of jail.
“The man’s entitled to be held in a humane situation.” Greenberg said in court Tuesday, adding: “Mr. Kelly is a difficult person to have [at the MCC] because of other prisoners … because of his notoriety.”
“The defendant can entice girls to his own doorstep, he doesn’t have to leave his home to do that,” Krull told the judge.
The singer faces 13 counts regarding child pornography in Chicago, enticing a minor into illegal sexual activity, and a conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Kelly’s case in Brooklyn is broader. He faces racketeering charges that allege that the singer’s music career was curated to enable and protect him while he sexually exploited young women by isolating them, controlling them, and making them refer to him as “Daddy.”