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R Kelly to face racketeering charges in New York

Roisin O'Connor

R Kelly will face racketeering charges at a New York court after a judge ordered his transferral from Chicago.

The racketeering charges allege that Kelly recruited young girls for sexual abuse at concerts across the US, and are part of a string of sexual misconduct allegations that were filed against the R&B singer this year.

According to the Chicago Tribute, which cited court records, the R&B singer will attend the New York hearing on 2 August then return to Chicago for a status hearing on 4 September on a separate indictment.

Among other accusations, prosecutors allege that the Grammy winner had sex with underage girls, that he filmed himself doing so and that he tried to cover it up.

If found guilty, the 52-year-old could receive a minimum of 15 years behind bars and a maximum sentence of 195 years in prison based on the Chicago charges alone.

Kelly was ordered held without bond at a hearing last week in Chicago, where he entered a not-guilty plea to 18 counts of serious sexual misconduct. The hearing was to determine whether he should be released from custody – prosecutors argued that he should not be released.

“This risk of obstruction is real. This risk is ongoing. This risk is heightened by the defendant’s fame and power,” one assistant US attorney told the judge, Harry Leinenweber, at Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago.

Kelly “has a unique ability to influence and intimidate witnesses and victims, and that continues to this day”, he claimed.

Kelly is being held in a Chicago jail without bond.