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There are now 18 charges of felony sex crimes involving four accusers against R. Kelly in Illinois.
USA TODAY

R&B singer R. Kelly was arrested by federal authorities in Chicago Thursday on new sex crimes charges, putting the embattled singer in even deeper legal jeopardy.

Federal charges included child pornography, enticement of a minor, and obstruction of justice, Joseph Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, told USA TODAY.

“Yes, he’s been arrested,” Kelly’s spokesman Darrell Johnson confirmed to USA TODAY. Johnson had no further comment, but said he’d be holding a press conference Friday morning in Atlanta. 

Fitzpatrick said that Kelly was taken into custody by federal authorities in Chicago around 7 p.m. Thursday evening, not long after a federal grand jury returned the 13-count indictment against the singer. It was not immediately clear when Kelly would appear in court or where he was being held.

The 52-year-old singer has previously been charged by the state of Illinois with two sets of multiple sex-crimes (including aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault by force, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated criminal sexual abuse against an accuser who was between the ages of 13 and 17).

Kelly was initially charged with 10 courts in February; prosecutors unveiled eight more criminal charges against him in early June. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

For over two decades, Robert Sylvester Kelly, has faced multiple allegations of sexual abuse of women and girls, including sex with underage girls and accusations that he trapped scores of female fans in a “sex cult” that cut them off from their families and subjected them to degrading abuse. 

R. Kelly case: Prosecutors turn over video of alleged sexual encounter with teen

‘Surviving R. Kelly’: All the shocking claims

But only once before has Kelly faced a sex crime charge in court, in Chicago, where he was acquitted in 2008. Then, in January, a six-part film began airing on Lifetime, “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which women came forward on camera to accuse Kelly of shocking abuse.

Saying she was “sickened” by the allegations, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx called a press conference in January to ask accusers and witnesses to come forward. In February, she announced the state charges against Kelly.

Soon after state charges were announced, New Yorker magazine reported that federal authorities had begun weighing whether to bring their own charges against Kelly.

Contributing: Cydney Henderson, Aamer Madhani

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