R. Kelly appeared in court on Friday for the first time after being indicted with 18 federal charges, including allegedly taking underage girls across state lines for sex.
Kelly made a brief courtroom appearance in Chicago on Friday afternoon, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, according to NBC News.
When asked by Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan whether he understood the charges being filed against him, which included paying victims and witnesses to cover up his crimes, the 52-year-old singer said, “Yes ma’am.”
Separate federal indictments were filed in both Chicago and Brooklyn, including child pornography charges, enticement of a minor, obstruction of justice, racketeering, transporting underage girls for sex, and sexual exploitation of a child.
The alleged acts are said to have occurred in New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and California, with two of the victims in the New York case said to be under 16 and another one was under 18 at the time.
“Kelly and the other members of the enterprise traveled throughout the United States and abroad to perform at concert venues, to promote the R. Kelly brand and to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity,” the New York indictment says.
“R. Kelly believed he could fly, but it will be justice to see his oppressive wings clipped,” according to a statement from Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of the New York office of Homeland Security.
The disgraced singer was arrested in Chicago while walking his dog on Friday, five months after being released on bail for additional sex abuse charges.
He was charged in February with aggravated sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. In May, he was charged with 11 more state counts of sexual assault and abuse in Illinois.
He has pleaded not guilty to all state charges.
Steve Greenberg, an attorney for Kelly, responded to Thursday’s arrest by stating that “the conduct alleged appears to largely be the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr. Kelly in his current State indictment and his former State charges that he was acquitted of. Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old.”
Kelly just wants to make “wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him,” Greenberg said.
The singer will remain in jail until his next hearing on Tuesday.