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R. Kelly Arrested on Child Pornography and Other Federal Charges

The singer R. Kelly, already under indictment in Chicago on state charges of aggravated sexual assault and abuse, was arrested Thursday night by federal agents on charges related to child pornography and other federal crimes, officials said.

Mr. Kelly was taken into custody over a 13-count indictment that includes enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice, in addition to the child pornography charges, said Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Kelly was arrested in Chicago.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are expected to unveil a separate indictment on Friday containing additional charges against Mr. Kelly, according to two law enforcement officials.

In that indictment, Mr. Kelly is charged with one count of racketeering and four counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution, according to a law enforcement official.

Mr. Kelly was the only person charged in the indictment, which identifies him as the leader of a racketeering enterprise, the official said.

Mr. Kelly is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday in federal court in Chicago. Officials said he would ultimately be brought to New York City to face charges, though the timing has yet to be determined. He was not expected to appear in court in Brooklyn on Friday.

The federal charges, which officials said would be unsealed on Friday, deepen the legal morass for Mr. Kelly, who has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct for decades but was acquitted on state child pornography charges in 2008.

Mr. Kelly, 52, whose real name is Robert S. Kelly, already faces more than a dozen state felony charges related to sexual abuse accusations in Chicago involving four women, three of whom were underage at the time, prosecutors said.

He was charged with 10 state counts in February, with more state charges filed against him in May. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Mr. Kelly was arrested while walking his dog on Thursday night by New York detectives and federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations, who built the case with the New York Police Department, officials said.

Mr. Kelly’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg, said in a statement that Mr. Kelly was “aware of the investigations and the charges were not a surprise.”

Mr. Greenberg also said that most of the charges appeared to stem from old allegations, some of which were made in the previous indictment.

The statement added that Mr. Kelly and his lawyers “look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain.”

Mr. Kelly’s arrest makes for the second case in a week in which the federal authorities have pursued high-profile figures for charges related to sexual abuse involving minors. Jeffrey Epstein, the New York financier, who for years has faced allegations involving underage girls, was arrested on Saturday and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

The longstanding accusations against Mr. Kelly received renewed attention in recent months. A six-part documentary profiling some of his accusers aired in January, and Mr. Kelly’s remarkable interview with Gayle King in March gripped the nation’s attention.

Suspicion has loomed over Mr. Kelly since his brief marriage, in 1994, to the singer Aaliyah when she was 15. He was tried in 2008 on child pornography charges stemming from a 27-minute tape in which prosecutors said he had sex with and urinated on a teenage girl. He was acquitted on all counts after the girl declined to testify against him.

Yet, even as the allegations trailed him, his career continued to flourish. He performed at the World Cup in the summer of 2010 and released an album in December of that year called “Love Letter.”

In 2017, Jim DeRogatis, who in 2000 was the first journalist to document claims against Mr. Kelly, wrote an article published by Buzzfeed in which women in Mr. Kelly’s social circle depicted an abusive cultlike atmosphere.

“Surviving R. Kelly,” the six-part documentary that was broadcast by Lifetime, detailed alarming accusations about his treatment of women.

The documentary prompted investigations by Atlanta, Chicago and federal law enforcement officials. In Illinois, the Cook County state’s attorney, Kim Foxx, asked any victims to come forward. Some did, leading to his arrest on state charges in February.

His explosive interview with Ms. King, which aired on her program “CBS This Morning,” gave the case renewed national attention. Mr. Kelly sought to portray himself as a victim, targeted by a smear campaign. He forcefully denied the claims against him, at one point staring directly into the camera, tears in his eyes, and said, “I didn’t do this stuff! This is not me!”

Jacey Fortin, Michael Gold and Ashley Southall contributed reporting.

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