By Toby Prince
R&B star R. Kelly has been arrested in Chicago on federal sex crime charges, two law enforcement sources said Thursday night.
Robert Kelly, 52, was arrested by New York police detectives and investigators from the Department of Homeland Security, the sources said.
A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that separate federal indictments were filed against Kelly in Chicago and Brooklyn.
Joseph Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago, told the Associated Press that Kelly was taken into custody about 7 p.m. Thursday after a 13-count federal indictment was handed down in federal court for the Northern District of Illinois earlier in the day.
“The counts include child porn, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice,” he said.
Further details were expected to be announced Friday.
Kelly is expected to appear in federal court in Chicago first, but when that will happen was not clear early Friday.
Homeland Security’s investigations division and New York police declined to comment. Calls to the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, New York, weren’t immediately returned.
Darrell Johnson, a crisis manager for R. Kelly, said early Friday that Kelly was looking forward to his day in court.
“When you’re innocent of charges — and Mr. Kelly has declared his innocence — in America, you know and I know, that you’re innocent until proven guilty,” Johnson said. “And he’s said many times that he’s innocent.”
Kelly has been the subject of sexual abuse allegations for nearly two decades, some of them alleging acts as far back as 1998. He has vigorously denied the allegations.
Kelly was charged in Illinois in February with aggravated sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. He pleaded not guilty.
Then, in May, he was charged with 11 more counts of sexual assault and sex abuse, according to court documents.
Allegations of sexual misconduct against Kelly gained renewed interest following the release in January of a six-part Lifetime documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” which detailed a number of women’s claims that they were sexually, physically and mentally abused. Kelly denied all of those accusations.
In 2008, a Cook County, Illinois, jury acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges stemming from a video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. The young woman denied that it was her in the video and didn’t testify