Embattled R&B legend R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually abusing women and young girls during his arraignment in a New York City court on Friday (August 2).
The hearings, which confirmed his denial of bail and will see him jailed until trial, came after his arrest just last month in his hometown of Chicago for a related, but separate set of accusations for allegedly engaging in child pornography.
Although the females were identified as “Jane Does” for the protection of their identity, Kelly’s lawyers made headlines for labeling them ‘disgruntled groupies’ after their client was denied bail.
“That is the definition of a groupie. Whether they’re disgruntled or showing groupie remorse,” said lawyer Doug Anton.
Gloria Allred, on hand as representative for some of the “Jane Does,” fired back:
“It is time for Mr. Kelly’s defense attorneys to stop traumatizing persons who are alleged to be victims of Mr. Kelly, and start showing them the respect that is long overdue to them,” Allred said.
Prosecutors were granted their request to keep Kelly detained until the trial as they argued he posed a “flight risk.” While the singer’s legal team disagreed, asserting their client had no passport and would attend the hearings as scheduled, his detainment was approved by the judge.
According to NBC New York:
“Lawyers for Kelly had requested the New York judge to grant him bail so he can better fight the charges as they also seek his release in Chicago.
They are also asking for the judge to make the victims’ names public so they can prepare a proper defense. Anton argued in his letter to the judge that some of the victims who were “under 18” at the time of Kelly’s alleged crimes in the states of Illinois, Connecticut and California were 16 or 17 and their alleged relationship to the singer “may not give rise to criminal conduct” because the age of consent in Connecticut is 16.”
The New York indictment alleges Kelly for two decades ran a racketeering enterprise comprised of “managers, bodyguards, drivers, personal assistants and runners for the defendant, as well as members of his entourage” who recruited women and girls for sex with Kelly and transported them around the country. Kelly often filmed the sexual activity, federal prosecutors say, including sex with the underage victims, constituting child pornography. He had one woman travel in 2017 to a show on Long Island, where he had unprotected sex with her without telling her “he had contracted an infectious venereal disease” in violation of New York law, they say.
Kelly’s next court dates are Aug. 15 in Chicago and Oct. 2 in Brooklyn.