A New York judge has denied bail for singer R. Kelly, who pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges on Friday.
According to NPR, Kelly, 52, arrived at a Brooklyn court and entered a plea of not guilty for five federal charges—one count of racketeering and four counts of violating the Mann Act, which bars sex trafficking across state lines—which were filed in New York. Prosectors for the Eastern District of New York have reportedly identified five victims in the New York case, including three girls.
Documents obtained by TMZ stated that Kelly has called his victims “disgruntled groupies.” Meanwhile, his two girlfriends, Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, were reportedly in attendance for Friday’s court hearing.
According to the New York Daily News, New York prosecutors accused Kelly of running a racketeering ring which sexually violated girls and young women and also involved kidnapping and forced labor. They charged that some of the victims were trapped in rooms without food and water and were forced to partake in child pornography.
Weeks earlier, the “I Wish” singer pleaded not guilty in Illinois to 13 federal charges, including child pornography and obstruction of justice.
WABC reported that Kelly’s lawyer argued that outside of the charges in New York and Illinois, the court has “not one piece of evidence” that Kelly’s a danger to the public. However, Eastern District of New York Judge Steven L. Tiscione deemed the allegations, which date back to 1997, serious and found that Kelly has the means and a reason to skip bail.
Kelly has been jailed without bond since his July 12 arrest in Chicago. As of Friday, he’s reportedly being held at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center.
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[Featured image: R. Kelly/AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File]