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CHICAGO — R&B singer R. Kelly woke up Sunday in Cook County jail, unable to come up with $100,000 — or 10 percent of his $1 million bond on charges related to sexual misconduct. Adding to his financial woes is more than $161,000 the Chicago native owes in back child support.
His attorney, Steve Greenberg, said Kelly may be able to shift funds but that the Grammy-winning artist “really doesn’t have any money.”
“This is someone who should be wealthy,” Greenberg said Saturday, noting that Kelly has lost money to mismanagement and bad contracts over the years. “I don’t even think he owns the rights to ‘I Believe I Can Fly.'”
Kelly was dropped from his record label and is also behind on rent.
On Saturday, Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. set a $1 million bond for Kelly. Lyke called the allegations against Kelly “disturbing” and said the amount equals $250,000 for each of the four people Kelly is charged with sexually abusing.
During Saturday’s 17-minute hearing, prosecutors laid out their case against Kelly, as he stood facing the judge with his arms cuffed behind his back. At times he shook his head in disagreement and once leaned over to whisper something to his lawyer, who patted Kelly on the shoulder.
Several relatives of Kelly’s alleged victims were also in the courtroom.
The singer, whose full name is Robert Kelly, was charged Friday with 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse involving at least three underage victims between 1998 and 2010. The counts each carry a maximum of seven years in prison. The charges follow decades of rumors and allegations that the music star was abusing women and underage girls.
Greenberg rejected allegations that Kelly sexually abused anyone, telling reporters: “He is a rock star. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex.”
Kelly has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.
Kelly broke into the music scene in 1993 with his first solo album, “12 Play,” which produced such popular sex-themed songs as “Bump N’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin’.”
The singer rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side and experienced crossover success through “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Step In the Name of Love.” He has written numerous hits for himself and other artists, including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. His collaborators have included Jay-Z and Usher.
Some music performers, including Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and Joe, have denounced songs that Kelly created for them. Lady Gaga and Celine Dion removed their duets with Kelly from streaming platforms. Boy band B2K said after their reunion tour that they won’t perform any songs R. Kelly crafted for them including “Bump, Bump, Bump,” the group’s only Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping song.
Last year, Spotify removed his music from its playlists due to the streaming services’ new policy on hate content and hateful conduct. Multiple outlets reported that Sony Music dropped Kelly from its roster this year.