Four sexual abuse cases against R&B singer Robert Kelly were dismissed during a brief hearing Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, as one of the alleged victims expressed disappointment, saying “justice has been denied for me.”
“I pleaded with Kim Foxx and her team to see the cases through,” Lanita Carter said in a statement.
Instead, the state’s attorney decided to drop the charges against the singer four years after they were filed. Kelly has been found guilty in separate federal trials in New York and Chicago during that time, putting him on the verge of spending the rest of his life behind bars.
Kelly did not attend the hearing on Tuesday, but he is expected to appear in a federal courtroom in Chicago later this month when he is sentenced on his conviction last fall for sexually abusing three girls and creating child pornography.
Kelly faces 10 to 90 years in prison in that case, and he is already serving a 30-year sentence for a racketeering and other charges conviction in New York in 2021.
Following the airing of the 2019 documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” Foxx publicly asked women who had been assaulted by the singer to come forward.
On Monday, Foxx announced that she was dropping the state’s case against Kelly because he was likely to face lengthy prison sentences, and that several of his alleged victims had already testified against Kelly in federal court.
Nonetheless, Foxx acknowledged that her office had received feedback from at least one alleged victim who disagreed with the decision.
“I understand how hard it was for these victims to come forward and tell their stories,” Foxx wrote in a statement Tuesday. “I applaud their courage and have the utmost respect for everyone who came forward. While this may not be the result they were expecting, due to the sentences that Mr. Kelly is facing, we do feel that justice has been served.”
Carter, identified in charging documents by the initials “L.C,” was one of those alleged victims. She claimed Kelly assaulted her in 2003, when she went to his house to braid his hair while he was on bond for child pornography charges.
Carter went to police right away and cooperated with them, but no charges were filed. Carter came forward again in 2019 after the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” reignited public interest in the case.
“I chose to place my trust in her and her office, and I’ve spent nearly four years preparing myself — mentally and emotionally — to face my abuser and tell my story,” Carter said in a statement. “Justice has been denied for me a second time, making today’s decision that much more difficult to comprehend and accept.”
The cases would have given Cook County prosecutors a second chance to convict Kelly, who was acquitted of all charges in his 2008 trial on state child pornography charges.
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, who had asked for the charges to be dropped, said after the hearing Tuesday that she was “pleased” with the decision and would now focus on fighting Kelly’s conviction in New York.
“That is really our next battle,” Bonjean told reporters, joined by several Kelly supporters who attended the hearing.
Former federal prosecutor Steven Block, who led the state’s attorney’s Special Prosecutions Bureau until 2018, said it was not uncommon to dismiss a pending case when a defendant had already been convicted on other charges and sentenced to time in prison.
“It comes down to a decision on how to use resources,” Block said. “The fact is, we know this is a defendant that is going to serve a long sentence. Another prosecution is not going to serve justice more than it already has been served.”
Kelly, according to Bonjean, is struggling in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, where he is a target of abuse by other inmates and correctional staff.
She accused jail administrators and staff of releasing Kelly’s music and private information without his permission, including “possibly” his privileged communications with his defense attorneys.
Leave a Reply