R Kelly pleaded not guilty yesterday to all ten charges of aggravated sexual assault that have been made against him. He was later released from custody, after three days in jail, having paid the $100,000 necessary to secure his release on bail.
The musician handed himself in to police on Friday after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He is accused of sexually assaulting four women between 1998 and 2010, three of whom were children at the times of the alleged crimes.
As a condition of being granted bail, which was set at $1 million, Kelly had to hand over 10% of that amount upfront, as well as agreeing to surrender his passport and have no contact with anyone under the age of eighteen.
Meanwhile, attorneys working with Kelly’s accusers have suggested that further charges may be brought against him. Gloria Allred said in a press conference yesterday that she is representing six women who have made allegations against Kelly. Michael Avenatti also told CNN that he had uncovered further evidence alleged to show Kelly abusing an underage girl.
Earlier this month, Avenatti announced that he had turned over a video to Cook County prosecutors, which he claimed shows Kelly having sex with a fourteen year old girl. He now says that his investigations have uncovered two further videos, one of which, he says, “leaves no question as to Mr Kelly’s guilt”.
“Over the weekend, we have encountered a number of additional witnesses who we have interviewed, who we are in the process of preparing to meet with prosecutors”, Avenatti said. “Each of these witnesses describe a decades long system of abuse by Mr Kelly of underage girls”.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, continues to vehemently defend his client, telling CNN that any claims by any parties to have ‘smoking gun’ evidence are “ridiculously premature”. Continuing the bullish line he has taken ever since abuse claims against Kelly gained new public focus, he said: “I believe all the women are lying”.
Now out on bail, Kelly is next due back in court for a hearing on the assault charges on 22 Mar. In a separate case, he has been ordered to pay $161,663 in unpaid child support to his ex-wife by 6 Mar in order to avoid being in contempt of court.