Before His Hearing, R. Kelly Couldn't Be Found

The singer pleads not guilty in a New York federal court
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2019 11:10 AM CDT
Before His Hearing, R. Kelly Couldn't Be Found
In this June 26, 2019, file photo, R&B singer R. Kelly, center, arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court Building for an arraignment on sex-related felonies in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File)

Perhaps not a big surprise, but R. Kelly pleaded not guilty Friday on multiple charges and was denied bail. The singer appeared in a New York federal court on a five-count indictment involving alleged sex crimes, including sexual exploitation of underage girls, while two girlfriends attended "for moral support" and several supporters stood outside, TMZ reports. Kelly's lawyer argued that his client wasn't a flight risk—and hadn't flown during a six-year child-porn trial—but the judge expressed concern about Kelly's "access to financial resources" and "the strong possibility of witness tampering if he is released," per Variety.

Wearing a prison uniform and orange shoes, the singer was mostly expressionless but did smile sadly and nod to his girlfriends. In an odd twist, USA Today reports that Kelly lawyer Douglas Anton said he couldn't find the singer late Thursday. Anton said federal prison officials flew Kelly in from Chicago but didn't help the two meet, posing a brief delay to the hearing. NBC New York has video of a handcuffed Kelly escorted by an officer to a waiting truck at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. (More R. Kelly stories.)

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