CHICAGO • R&B superstar R. Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse, some involving minors.
The bombshell indictments in Chicago last Friday marked a major shift in the Kelly saga, which has seen the 52-year-old for decades accused of child pornography, sex with minors, sexual battery and operating a sex cult.
Nine of the new charges concern minors aged 13 to 16, a Cook County court official told Agence France-Presse, without specifying the number of victims involved.
The artist - whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly - was taken into custody last Friday night after arriving at a Chicago police station in a van with heavily tinted rear windows, said the Associated Press.
The musician has a court date scheduled for March 8 in Chicago, where he resides, the official said.
Kelly, known for hits like I Believe I Can Fly, has faced renewed public scrutiny after a scathing docu-series shed new light on his past.
High-profile lawyers Gloria Allred and Michael Avenatti are representing clients linked to Kelly, with the latter saying his office had uncovered previously unreleased footage of a man believed to be Kelly having sex with a young girl, which the lawyer gave to the Cook County State Attorney.https://twitter.com/MichaelAvenatti/status/1099015088076439552
Mr Avenatti tweeted about Friday's developments: "After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R. Kelly has arrived."
CNN, which obtained a copy of the tape announced by Mr Avenatti, described it as "clear and explicit".
The network said two scenes show a naked man who appears to be Kelly engaging in several sex acts with a female.
It is the second time Cook County prosecutors have charged Kelly with a sex crime: after a dramatic trial that also involved a sex tape, the musician was acquitted of 21 counts of child pornography in 2008.
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, BLOOMBERG