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Chicago Prosecutor Drops Sex Abuse Charges Against R. Kelly

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx in 2019 charged Kelly with aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17.

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The Cook County State's Attorney's office dropped 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against singer R. Kelly Monday, citing the R&B star's previous convictions, high cost of prosecution and limited resources.

At a news conference, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx explained her office is no longer pursuing four sex abuse indictments against Kelly, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison last year after being found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking following a trial in New York.

"While today's cases are no longer being pursued, we believe that justice has been served in the sentences that have already been handed down to Mr. Kelly, as well as the sentence that will come down next month," the state's attorney said. "...I want to make unequivocally clear that we take allegations of sexual abuse and sexual assault seriously..."

Foxx in 2019 charged Kelly with with aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time, she said the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade.

A federal trial in Chicago ended on Sept. 14 with his conviction on charges of producing child pornography and enticing girls for sex. Weeks later, a federal judge signaled that she planned to order the disgraced R&B superstar to pay more than $300,000 to one his victims in a decades-long scheme to use his fame to sexually abuse young fans.

A restitution order by U.S. District Judge Ann Connelly that was still being finalized in September was meant to cover the cost of treatment for herpes and psychotherapy. The victim, referred to only by a pseudonym, accused the jailed Kelly of giving her the sexually transmitted disease during one of their encounters.

Kelly could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars more to pay for herpes treatment and counseling for a second victim once the final tally is calculated. The judge rejected a third claim by another accuser.

While federal prosecutors in Chicago scored multiple convictions against Kelly at the singer’s trial in September, they lost on the headline charge — that Kelly obstructed justice by rigging his 2008 state child pornography trial, at which jurors acquitted him.

After the verdict, U.S. Attorney John Lausch expressed disappointment in not winning convictions across the board. But he said Kelly was still looking at a prison sentence of 10 to 90 years. He said he was pleased Kelly was “finally being held accountable.” Sentencing is set for Feb. 23.

At least one legal expert said obstruction of justice charges aren’t generally hard to prove. “But in this case,” said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago, “the facts just weren’t there.”

Jurors also acquitted Kelly of receiving child pornography and one count of producing child pornography. His attorney planned to appeal, but it's unclear if an appeal has been filed.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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