Federal authorities in Chicago have arrested and charged R&B singer R. Kelly in a 13-count indictment alleging child pornography and obstruction of justice, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
Kelly, who already faces separate sexual assault charges in state court, will now be confronting two possible criminal trials following his Thursday night arrest by federal authorities.
For decades, Kelly has been dogged by accusations over sexual contact with minors and child pornography allegations. He was prosecuted by state authorities in a child pornography case before, but in June 2008, Kelly was acquitted of all charges, allowing him to walk a free man.
Kelly’s arrest by agents Thursday night represents the first time the singer has faced federal charges.
Law enforcement officials tell The New York Times that investigators in New York plan to unveil a separate indictment on Friday against Kelly.
In recent months, fresh interest has been generated around the longtime accusations against Kelly.
An interview Kelly did with Gayle King in March in which he emotionally denied sexual misconduct with underage girls prompted widespread attention.
And Lifetime’s recent six-episode Surviving R. Kelly documentary included accounts from several women who accused the singer of misconduct, drawing a new focus to the longstanding accusations lodged at him. More accusers began publicly telling their stories about alleged abuse and sexual misconduct perpetrated by him.
State prosecutors in Chicago this year have filed sexual assault and abuse charges against him, the latest of which were filed six weeks ago. Kelly, 52, whose real name is Robert S. Kelly, has pleaded not guilty.
Steve Greenberg, Kelly’s lawyer, did not respond to requests for comment.
WBEZ’s Patrick Smith contributed to this report.
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