R Kelly previously stood trial in the mid-2000s after a video tape surfaced appearing to show him raping an underage girl. Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography, but was ultimately found not guilty of all charges. Several jurors later acknowledged that the alleged victim’s refusal to testify at the trial was instrumental in Kelly’s acquittal.
Now, though, the New York Times reports that the victim, who is now in her 30s, is cooperating with federal prosecutors. The woman is one of 12 women included in a pair of federal indictment against Kelly, which accuse him of engaging sex crimes, child pornography, racketeering, and obstruction of justice.
According to one of the federal indictment unsealed last week, Kelly paid off the alleged victim so that she would not testify at his original trial. As a result, Kelly’s legal defense team were able to convince a jury that they could not know for certain whether Kelly or the alleged victim were the ones seen in the tape. (Fourteen witnesses identified the girl in the video, who was believed to be around 14 at the time it was made.)
On Tuesday, Kelly appeared in U.S. District Court in Chicago and pleaded not guilty to a 13-count federal indictment for sex crimes. A judge rejected his request for bail, concluding that the child pornography charge alone is a “presumption of detention.” Kelly will reportedly be transported to New York where he will stand trial. If convicted of all charges, Kelly could face as much as 195 years in federal prison, the Times reports.
Kelly is already facing 40-70 years in prison in Illinois stemming from state charges of aggravated sexual abuse brought against him back in February. He is currently out on bail after pleading not guilty to those charges.