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R Kelly pleads not guilty to 11 new sex abuse charges

Musician R Kelly, centre, arriving for a court hearing (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Musician R Kelly, centre, arriving for a court hearing (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Singer R Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 additional sex-related charges when he appeared in court in Chicago on Thursday.

Prosecutors did not ask the judge to raise the bond amount for Kelly during the brief hearing at Cook County court.

Kelly stood with his hands folded in front of him and listened as Judge Lawrence Flood described the charges.

When the judge asked Kelly if he understood, the R&B singer responded: “Yes, sir.”

The Grammy award-winner, who has denied any wrongdoing, left without speaking to reporters.

Among the 11 new counts are four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, which carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
That is more than four times as long as the maximum term for each of the 10 counts Kelly was originally charged with in February.

Speaking after the hearing, Kelly’s defence lawyer, Steve Greenberg, said that he could not speculate as to why prosecutors had brought the new charges, which pertain to one of the four women he was charged in February with sexually abusing years ago, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred.

“It’s the same case. It’s just that they’ve just changed what they’ve charged him with,” Mr Greenberg said.

“It’s the same facts … the same bond, the same evidence. We expect the same result.”

According to the new indictment, the first eight counts are from encounters that allegedly occurred between January 1 and January 31 2010. Three others pertain to alleged encounters between May 1 2009 and January 31 2010.

Prosecutors allege, among other things, that Kelly used force or threatened to do so to pressure the accuser into sex or to perform oral sex on him. Since she was underage at the time, the statute of limitations for bringing charges was extended to 20 years from her 18th birthday, they wrote.

A woman has come forward to say publicly that 11 new counts stem from allegations she made about the R&B singer.

Jerhonda Pace wrote on her Facebook page that she was the accuser identified as “JP” in court documents.

Anticipating an angry reaction by Kelly’s fans, Pace — one of four women the singer is charged with sexually abusing — wrote that “no matter how ‘wrong’ you think I am, the law is on my side, a MINOR at the time.”

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