R. Kelly In Federal Court Friday Over Racketeering Charges
A Brooklyn federal court judge denied R. Kelly bail in his federal racketeering case, saying he was “extremely troubled” by allegations that the singer had intimidated witnesses in another case.
Judge Steven Tiscione ordered the disgraced singer to remain behind bars until his trial, saying that he didn’t believe that there were any set of bail conditions that could ensure that Kelly wouldn’t skip town.
“I am also extremely troubled by the allegations of obstruction… And that there could be witness tampering,” the Judge Tiscione said. “Given the serious nature of the charges… He has an incentive to flee.”
The disgraced singer appeared in federal court Friday morning for his first appearance in a case that alleges he was the leader of a criminal network that ferried girls around the country to him for sexual exploitation.
A hunched over Kelly looked a far cry from his days of performing and only spoke to affirm that he understood the charges against him.
His lawyer Douglas Anton, later entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf.
Federal prosecutors argued that Kelly was a flight risk with access to lots of cash who’d had already paid off and intimidated witnesses in his 2002 child sex abuse case, where he was ultimately acquitted. Prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes said Kelly had a “history of obstruction” and had his lackeys bribe victims, made them sign false statements and recorded them to use as collateral if they decided to cooperate with authorities.
“He did this over the course of many decades and he did it with many women and children,” Geddes said, adding that Kelly allegedly committed sex assault and kidnapping while out on bail in the 2002 case.
But in his defense, Anton said there was no evidence of any recordings and said any claims against him were still “unproven accusations.”
Anton said his client had been on bail from roughly 2002 through 2008 for his state child sex abuse case and he never tried to abscond.
The courtroom was packed with onlookers, including lawyer Gloria Allred and Kelly’s live In gal pals and alleged sex slaves, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary.
Kelly is due back in federal court this afternoon for a status hearing.