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R. Kelly indictment unsealed: Singer accused of kidnapping, forced labor and sexually abusing girls

R. Kelly facing "decades" behind bars
New R. Kelly charges mean singer is facing "decades" behind bars, legal expert says 02:08

Chicago -- R. Kelly, already facing sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors, was arrested in Chicago on Thursday on a sweeping federal indictment. The singer and members of his entourage are accused of recruiting women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with the performer.

The indictment, unsealed Friday in the Eastern District of New York, includes charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child. CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan reports this is the first time Kelly has faced federal criminal charges.

The father of Joycelyn Savage, who claims his daughter has been "brainwashed" by Kelly, confronted a publicist on Kelly's team, Darrell Johnson, at a press conference on Friday. "I got a question: Where is my daughter at? Where's Joycelyn Savage? We don't want to come to hear your lies. Where our daughter at?" said Savage's father, Timothy Savage.

Johnson told Savage "we have nothing to do with your daughter." Savage said his daughter was at Kelly's Trump Tower residence with Johnson on Thursday, which Johnson denied. 

"I personally don't know your daughter," Johnson said. "I met your daughter six times. I've seen her in and at Trump Towers. I haven't seen anything that I would say is suspicious or harmful to your daughter. Zero. Okay? Now ,um the person you should be addressing this to is Mr. Kelly and Mr. Kelly's attorney." 

Joycelyn Savage, 23, told "CBS This Morning" with Azriel Clary, 21, that Kelly is their "full support" and insisted they loved him and were not being held against their will.

"We live with him, and we're in a relationship with him, we just said it," Clary said.  

According to the indictment, Kelly and his managers, bodyguards and other assistants picked out women and girls at concerts and other venues and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly. They also set rules the women and girls had to follow, including not leaving their rooms - even to eat or go to the bathroom - without Kelly's permission, calling the singer "Daddy," and not looking at other men, the indictment alleges.

The indictment alleges that the criminal acts occurred over two decades dating back to 1999, both in the U.S. and overseas. It accuses Kelly of engaging in sexual acts with girls under 18 and without disclosing that he had a sexually transmitted disease. It also accuses him of producing child pornography, including by asking minors to send him photographs.

Joseph Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois, said the R&B singer was out walking his dog when he was taken into custody about 7 p.m. Thursday and was being held by federal authorities. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, Kelly is being held at the high-rise Metropolitan Correctional Center, in downtown Chicago.

He was arrested after the indictment was handed down earlier Thursday in federal court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, said Friday that federal agents arrested Kelly on charges out of Illinois and New York. The singer hopes to be released after a bail hearing early next week, Greenberg said.

The conduct Kelly is charged with in federal court "appears to largely be the same" as what he is charged with in state court, Greenberg said, adding that Kelly "was aware of the investigations and the charges were not a surprise."

Kelly's associate Derrel McDavid entered a plea of not guilty on Friday. The indictment alleges McDavid and Kelly paid one of the minors and another individual to collect and return "numerous explicit videos." The indictment seeks forfeiture of a personal money judgment of approximately $1.55 million. 

The arrest was the second time this year that Kelly has been taken into custody in Chicago on sex charges. The 52-year-old Grammy winner, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was arrested in February on 10 counts in Illinois of sexually abusing three girls and a woman. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and was released on bail.

Then on May 30, Cook County prosecutors added 11 more sex-related counts involving one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.

Darrell Johnson, a publicist for Kelly, said he planned to deliver a statement about the latest developments at a Friday morning news conference in Atlanta. He declined to comment ahead of that time.

Kelly's attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment on the federal charges. Fitzpatrick said Kelly's arraignment date and time had not yet been set.

Kelly has faced mounting legal troubles this year after Lifetime aired a documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," which revisited allegations of sexual abuse of girls. The series followed the BBC's "R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes," released in 2018, that alleged the singer was holding women against their will and running a "sex cult."

In an explosive interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King in March, Kelly insisted none of the allegations against him were true, including accusations that he had has beaten, starved and held other women against their will -- a so-called "sex cult."

"Believe me, man! This is not me! They lying on me! They're lying on me! I'm cool, bro," he said standing and screaming. 

Soon after the release of the Lifetime documentary, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said her office had been inundated with calls about the allegations in the documentary. Her office's investigation led to the charges in February and additional counts added in May.

Kelly avoided prison after similar allegations were made more than a decade ago. A jury in 2008 acquitted him of child pornography charges that stemmed from a videotape, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor.

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