Artist News Legal

Prosecutors say R Kelly has history of intimidating victims, which is why he shouldn’t get bail

By | Published on Tuesday 8 October 2019

R Kelly

As R Kelly continues to try to secure bail while he waits for two criminal prosecutions to get to trial, The Blast has published extracts of court documents arguing that the musician has a history of threatening and intimidating his victims. This, prosecutors say, is a key reason why Kelly should remain in jail as the criminal cases against him go through the motions.

Kelly, of course, is accused of sexually abusing numerous women, including underage girls. Such allegations have been made against the star for years, but new criminal prosecutions were launched after the airing of the ‘Surviving R Kelly’ documentary earlier this year. He has been incarcerated since being arrested in July in relation to federal charges in New York.

Prosecutors have argued against granting Kelly bail on the basis that he is a flight risk and that he poses a threat if allowed out of jail. He strongly denies both of those claims.

In the court documents obtained by The Blast, the prosecution set out in some detail what they mean about Kelly posing a threat if granted bail. They argue that the star has a long history of trying to silence his victims through blackmail or by threatening them or their families. The blackmail usually centres on threats to leak explicit photos or embarrassing letters Kelly allegedly forces his victims to write.

Among other allegations, the court documents claim that Kelly, “sent a typewritten letter to a lawyer then representing Jane Doe #5, threatening to release compromising and potentially embarrassing photographs of Jane Doe #5 if she pursued her civil lawsuit against the defendant. The letter sent, which was provided to the defence as part of the government’s discovery, includes certain photographs and screen shots of text message exchanges between the defendant and Jane Doe #5 taken from the defendant’s phone”.

Noting that Kelly’s lawyers have previously stated that their client is illiterate, the court filing goes on: “The defendant cannot credibly deny his role in intimidating witnesses by claiming, self-servingly, that he could not have written the letter due to his allegedly limited reading and writing skills where he provided the material used to make the threats and signed his name to the accompanying documents”.

Prosecutors also allege that they have spoken to “multiple women” who claim that the musician “has a history of coercing women to write letters containing false and embarrassing allegations, so that the defendant could use those letters as blackmail”.

To date, judges overseeing the two separate criminal cases have been pretty consistent in denying Kelly bail. The allegations contained in these court documents may well have been one of the reasons for the judges taking that consistent viewpoint.