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A Chicago prosecutor said Monday that she’s dropping sex-abuse charges against singer R. Kelly following federal convictions in two courts that will likely guarantee decades of incarceration.
ABC News reports Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced the decision a day ahead of a hearing related to state charges accusing him of sexually abusing four people, three of whom were minors. She said she would ask a judge to dismiss the indictments Tuesday.
R. Kelly hid in plain sight
On Kelly’s debut album, Born into the ’90s (1992), he joined with the vocal group Public Announcement to deliver a smooth and melodic signature sound laced with hip-hop rhythms. Subsequent efforts achieved ever greater success as Kelly’s dominance of the R&B market translated into pop stardom.
His inspirational ballad “I Believe I Can Fly” (1996) was a massive hit and earned three Grammy Awards, including one for best R&B song.
With such hits as “Bump n’ Grind” (1994), “You Remind Me of Something” (1995), and “I’m Your Angel” (1998), Kelly had more songs reach the top 40 of the Billboard singles chart than any other male solo artist in the 1990s.
Foxx, who in 2019 had pleaded with women and girls to come forward so she could pursue charges against Kelly, acknowledged that the decision “may be disappointing” to his accusers.
“Mr. Kelly is potentially looking at the possibility of never walking out of prison again for the crimes that he’s committed,” the prosecutor said, referring to his federal convictions. “While today’s cases are no longer being pursued, we believe justice has been served.”
Since R. 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 Feb. 23 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.
Foxx said she reached out to Kelly’s lawyer two weeks ago to indicate that charges might be dropped. She also spoke to the women whose allegations were at the heart of the case.
Lanita Carter, who said she was sexually assaulted by R. Kelly in February 2003, said she was “extremely disappointed” with the news.
“I have spent nearly 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,” Carter said, adding that she trusted Foxx and her office with her story and has spent four years steeling herself to face Kelly to no avail.
“Justice has been denied for me,” she said.
ABC News reports prosecutors sometimes choose to go ahead with more trials out of a concern that convictions elsewhere could be reversed during appeals. They see an opportunity for additional convictions as insurance.
“We didn’t do a monetary cost-benefit analysis,” Foxx said, adding, however, that resources spent on a trial now could instead be used “in advocacy for other survivors of sexual abuse.”
Read the full report at ABC News.