R. Kelly charged with sexual abuse
Chicago Police tell CNN that a warrant has been issued for R. Kelly's arrest.
In just moments, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx will announces charges against Kelly at a news conference.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that a Cook County judge has approved a no-bail arrest warrant for singer R. Kelly.
The charges span from 1998 to 2010, the Sun-Times reports. The minors were between 13 and 16, prosecutors allege.
Tamara Simmons, the producer of Lifetime's "Surviving R. Kelly" docuseries, said she had been "waiting for so long" when she found out today that R. Kelly had been indicted.
"She responded with no words at first. She took a deep breath and said, 'I have been waiting for so long. I have lived with this and listening to these survivors' stories, and I have been waiting for so long,'" CNN correspondent Sara Sidner said.
Lifetime, the channel that aired the docuseries, also put out a statement after the news of Kelly's indictment broke.
"We are proud that Lifetime was able to provide a platform for survivors to be heard," a Lifetime spokesperson said.
Sidner also spoke with one of the survivors who had allegedly been sexually assaulted by Kelly when she was a minor.
"All I want is for justice to be done, and this to never happen to someone else," the survivor said, according to Sidner.
Accusations of abuse, manipulation and inappropriate encounters with girls and young women have been around -- and vehemently denied -- by R. Kelly for decades.
Here is a timeline of the allegations and trials:
- August 1994: The 27-year-old singer reportedly marries his 15-year-old protege, Aaliyah Haughton. Kelly is the lead songwriter and producer on her debut album, "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number." The marriage is annulled the following year after Aaliyah's family becomes aware of it, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
- December 1996: Tiffany Hawkins sues Kelly, claiming personal injuries and emotional damage arising from an alleged sexual relationship with Kelly, which she says began when she was 15 and ended when she was 18. That case is settled out of court.
- December 2000: Jim Derogatis and Abdon M. Pallasch publish their first report in the Chicago Sun-Times on allegations of Kelly having sexual relationships with girls as young as 15.
- August 2001: Tracy Sampson, an aspiring rapper and former intern at Epic Records, files a lawsuit against Kelly claiming that he initiated a sexual relationship with her when she was 17. The case is settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
- February 2002: The Chicago Sun-Times reports Kelly is being investigated by police after another sex tape is sent anonymously. He denies the charges.
- April 2002: The singer is sued by Patrice Jones, who alleges she was 16 when she began a sexual relationship with Kelly. The case is settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
- May 2002: Dancer Montina "Tina" Woods, 33, sues Kelly after she alleges he secretly taped their sexual encounter and the tape was being sold. The case is settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
- June 2002: Kelly is indicted on child pornography charges for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with an unidentified underage girl. The case went to trial in 2008 and Kelly was acquitted.
- July 2017: An explosive Buzzfeed article claims the singer is holding a group of adult women against their will as part of what some of their parents said was a "cult." Kelly's attorney dismisses the "debunked" allegations. One of the women later denies publicly that she was being "brainwashed" by Kelly and says, "I'm totally fine."
- August 2017: A 24-year-old woman alleges she had a sexual relationship with Kelly when she was 16. Kelly denies the accusation and no criminal charges are filed.
- May 2018: A 20-year-old woman files suit against the singer, claiming he unlawfully gave her alcohol, assaulted her and gave her a sexually transmitted disease.
- January 2019: "Surviving R. Kelly" premieres to big ratings and renews calls for Kelly to be investigated.
The family of Joycelyn Savage, one of the women featured in Lifetime's "Surviving R. Kelly," said they are hopeful that the charges against R. Kelly will "will lead to justice."
Savage family attorney Gerald Griggs just released this statement:
"After two years of extensive work, investigation, and a lot of prayer, my clients are hopeful that the recent charges against Robert Sylvester Kelly will lead to justice. We are ready to travel to Chicago to reunite the Savage family with Joycelyn Savage."
Later, Griggs released a longer statement on behalf of the family:
“More than two years ago when the Savage family first approached me about this case, I quickly recognized that multiple crimes were committed. I’ve repeatedly asked law enforcement to investigate this case and provided evidence directly linked to Robert Kelly. Today, a Grand Jury found the evidence we provided was sufficient for trial. We knew eventually that this day would come. We are hopeful now that with an indictment and the arrest of Mr. Kelly that Joycelyn Savage will soon be reunited with her family.”
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx will announces charges against R. Kelly at 3 p.m. ET, according to a release from her office.
We'll be covering the announcement live here.
CNN has seen the VHS tape that appears to show singer R. Kelly having sex with a girl who refers to her body parts as 14 years old. Attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing a man he calls a whistleblower against Kelly, says he handed the tape to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in Chicago last weekend.
"It was very disturbing," said CNN correspondent Sara Sidner.
"What we saw was a girl on the tape and a man who appeared to be R. Kelly completely nude, constantly changing the camera, making sure that you could see the entire scene, the entire sex acts that were happening. There were multiple sex acts on that tape. There was urination going on that was videotaped, and we heard the girl say, over and over again, at least six times, she referred to her 14-year-old genitalia. And he in turn a couple of times also mentioned her 14-year-old genitalia."
The grand jury viewed the tape, and had been listening to several witnesses over the past few days. They just indicted Kelly, though the charges have not yet been released.
Last week, a grand jury convened in Cook County, Illinois, in connection with new allegations against singer R. Kelly.
Attorney Michael Avenatti announced last week that he had handed over to the State's Attorney's office a videotape that he says shows Kelly engaging in sex acts with an underage girl.
CNN has seen the VHS tape that appears to show Kelly having sex with a girl who refers to her body parts as 14 years old. Avenatti, who is representing a man he calls a whistleblower against Kelly, says he handed the tape to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in Chicago last weekend.
What is on the video mirrors some of the alleged acts for which Kelly was arrested for child pornography in 2002, when he was 35, and then acquitted six years later.
Kelly has been associated with claims of sexual misconduct with minors and other crimes for more than two decades. He has been sued by multiple women accusing him of having sex with them when they were underage. He has denied the accusations and all cases, with the exception of the trial where he was acquitted, have been settled out of court.
An indictment has been handed down against musician R. Kelly by the Cook County State's Attorney's office, two sources with knowledge of the development tell CNN.