R. Kelly Charged With Child Pornography And Sex Trafficking

R. Kelly Charged With Child Pornography And Sex Trafficking

American hip hop star and R&B singer R. Kelly has become the latest high-profile figure to be arrested when he was arrested by federal authorities and charged with sex crimes on Thursday.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Kelly, was arrested in Chicago on a 13-count indictment from a federal court for the Northern District of Illinois featuring charges that range from obstruction of justice to enticement of a minor. Kelly has also been arrested on child pornography and sex trafficking charges.

The New York Times reports that Kelly is also expected to be indicted by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn Friday with additional charges. Kelly is likely to be tried in New York for charges the new charges in Chicago and is expected to appear in court sometime today, according to the Times.

Thursday’s arrest adds to the growing legal trouble that the 52-year-old celebrity has already been facing, combating a dozen state felony charges of aggravated sexual abuse dealing with four Chicago women, three of whom were under the age of 18 at the time of Kelly’s alleged advances.

Kelly, who plead not guilty to those charges of sexual abuse, was released on bail in February.

The American pop icon’s Thursday arrest has become the latest in a series of prominent figures charged with sex crimes by federal officials. Earlier this week, Democratic donor Ed Buck and former hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein were both charged on accounts of sex trafficking.

Epstein, 66, was arrested on Saturday and is accused of operating a “vast network” of sex trafficking that involved “dozens” of underage girls lured to his two mansions on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and in Palm Beach, Florida. Some of Epstein’s victims, according to the indictment from prosecutors, were as young as 14, and involved nude massages sessions followed by Epstein paying the girls hundreds of dollars in cash.

Federal prosecutors also revealed this week that Epstein kept in his New York residence a “vast trove of lewd photographs” depicting young girls.

The charges brought against Epstein have renewed scrutiny of a secret plea deal made with Epstein involving similar charges just more than a decade ago in Florida. Under the 2008 agreement, Epstein only spent 13 months in prison, during which he was able to leave six days a week, and had to register as a sex offender.

The agreement worked out with Epstein has landed President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta in the hot seat this week, who was the federal prosecutor who negotiated the deal.

Acosta went on defense this week, defending the agreement in a press conference where he argued that challenging Epstein in court might have let the businessman off the hook as potential witnesses were refusing to testify. Acosta also noted that the U.S. attorney’s office involvement in the case secured at least a partial conviction whereas state prosecutors were ready to let Epstein go without consequence.

“The Palm Beach State Attorney’s office was ready to let Epstein walk free,” Acosta told reporters on Wednesday. “Without [the U.S. Attorney Offices’] involvement, Epstein would have gotten away without charge. We believe that we proceeded appropriately.”

Buck has also been charged with sex crimes from federal authorities. The charges were filed as amendments to an existing wrongful death suit brought against Buck involving the case of two black men who died of crystal meth overdoses in the donor’s California home. Buck has been charged with human trafficking and revenge porn, and his attorney vowed to “aggressively” litigate the charges in court, according to the Daily Beast.

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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