Day: February 24, 2019

R. Kelly’s life mirrors that of prosecutor who charged him

In R. Kelly’s fight for his freedom, he faces a straight-talking prosecutor whose life in some ways parallels his own.

Though the singer was dogged for decades by allegations he victimized women and girls, his fate only came into question after a documentary brought renewed public derision and charges were meted out by Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney whose own story shares some similarities with the defendant.

They are both products of 1970s Chicago childhoods with absentee fathers and protective mothers who would later die prematurely of cancer. Two black Americans who said they suffered poverty and sexual assaults in their early years, who escaped public housing complexes to climb to positions of power in their respective fields. Two people whose stories diverged and brought them to opposite sides of a legal fight that could forever define them.

After Kelly’s hearing Saturday , Foxx went before a phalanx of cameras, calmly reciting the graphic accusations . Her short, just-the-facts appearance, similar to one a day earlier, bared nothing about a woman who even a year ago said she saw more of herself in defendants than her fellow attorneys.

“I have more in common with the young people who come through our detention centre than the attorneys who work for me,” the 46-year-old Cook County state’s attorney said last year in a talk at a suburban Chicago library, the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reported.

Foxx grew up in the notorious Cabrini-Green project. For a time as a teenager, her family was homeless, and as a young child, she said, she was sexually assaulted multiple times, by both a relative and some neighbourhood boys. As a 6-year-old accompanying her mother to court for a child support hearing, she said she first dreamed of her eventual career as she was awed by attorneys who seemed to be champions for powerless little girls like her.

She eventually made it to Southern Illinois University for undergraduate and law degrees before working as an assistant public guardian representing child victims, an assistant state’s attorney handling child protection cases and juvenile offenders, and as chief of staff for the president of the board of commissioners in Cook County, which includes Chicago.

Foxx invoked her powerful personal story repeatedly after she made an improbable bid to unseat a two-term incumbent, her former boss, for the top county prosecutor’s job, three years ago. Days before sailing to victory in her primary, she told campaign staffers what it signified.

“As someone who came from a neighbourhood like I did to be able to step into this moment right now where we can transform our criminal justice system and have the support of all of you, you have no idea how much that means,” she said, according the Chicago Tribune.

The woman who as a child cowered in a bathtub when she heard gunfire was now standing beside luminaries such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, earning financial backing from billionaire George Soros and gaining attention from 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Foxx hasn’t been without controversy, from a campaign finance violation that brought a hefty fine to overstatements of her trial experience that she later walked back and her announcement Thursday to recuse herself from the case of “Empire” actor Jussie Smolett . That decision raised the eyebrows of many, including the woman she unseated, Anita Alvarez, who mused “maybe I should have just recused myself from the difficult cases that came across my desk.”

After the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary series last month reignited interest in the purported crimes, Foxx pleaded for victims to come forward and proclaimed herself “sickened as a survivor … sickened as a mother … sickened as a prosecutor.” Kelly claims to have been a childhood sexual assault victim himself.

Kenyette Tisha Barnes, co-founder of the #MuteRKelly campaign, said she took some satisfaction in seeing a woman of colour prosecuting a case whose victims are women of colour who have long been ignored. As cautiously optimistic Barnes is, she questions why it has taken authorities, including Foxx, so long.

“Lately, I think she has been pitch-perfect, I think she has used the power of her position to really drive these cases to this point. However, survivors have come forward to her prior to this and they have not had favourable interactions and I think that, to some degree, there has to be some accountability for that,” Barnes said Saturday. “I really believe that these DAs have obfuscated their responsibility for too long and now they’re doing damage control.”

Foxx took no questions Saturday but has framed herself as a warrior shaped by her life story.

“I’ve deliberately chosen a career where I’ve worked with people who work on issues that deal with those who have the least among us,” she once told the Tribune. “Because I’ve never shaken, never been able to shake the caste that I come from.”

___

Sedensky can be reached at [email protected] or https://twitter.com/sedensky

Matt Sedensky, The Associated Press

@repost Prenup Lawyer near Me

Via Property Settlement after Divorce

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/02/23/r-kellys-life-mirrors-that-of-prosecutor-who-charged-him/

By The Wall of Law February 24, 2019 Off

US-backed Syrian forces hand over 150 IS militants to Iraq

BAGHDAD — Iraqi security officials say they have received custody of a second batch of 150 Iraqi Islamic State fighters from U.S.-backed forces in Syria.

Two officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of media regulations, said the Syrian Democratic Forces handed over Iraqi nationals on Saturday night.

The fighters will be interrogated about their participation with the jihadist group, the officials said.

The SDF has told Iraqi authorities it has captured 650 Iraqi militants in the fighting for Baghouz, an IS-held village in eastern Syria, according to the officials.

On Thursday, the SDF handed over 150 militants, in the first significant transfer to Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has said Iraq is also preparing to receive thousands of Iraqi women and children living in SDF camps in Syria.

Qasssim Abdul-Zahra, The Associated Press

@repost Local Child Support Lawyers

Via Child Support Attorney

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/02/23/us-backed-syrian-forces-hand-over-150-is-militants-to-iraq/

By The Wall of Law February 24, 2019 Off

R. Kelly

R. Kelly

R. Kelly’s lawyer rejects the allegations that the R&B singer sexually abused anyone, telling reporters: “He is a rock star. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex.”

Lawyer Steve Greenberg also said he thinks the four people the R&B singer is charged with sexually abusing are all lying.

Greenberg made the comments to reporters Saturday after a judge set Kelly’s bond at $1 million.

Kelly was booked Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four female victims, including three who were between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx says the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade.

Kelly was tried and acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. has set Kelly’s bond at $1 million.

The judge said during Saturday’s hearing in Chicago that the amount equals $250,000 for each of the four people he’s charged with sexually abusing.

Lyke called the allegations against Kelly “disturbing” during the hearing. The singer stared at the floor while the judge was speaking and looked dejected.

R. Kelly surrenders to authorities at Chicago First District police station, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. . (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

The arrest sets the stage for another #MeToo-era celebrity trial. Bill Cosby went to prison last year, and former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial.

Best known for hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly was charged a week after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he gave prosecutors new video evidence of the singer with an underage girl.

At a news conference earlier Friday in Chicago, Avenatti said a 14-year-old girl seen with R. Kelly on the video is among four victims mentioned in the indictment. He said the footage shows two separate scenes on two separate days at Kelly’s residence in the late 1990s.

During the video, both the victim and Kelly refer to her age 10 times, he said.

Avenatti said he represents six clients, including two victims, two parents and two people he describes as “knowing R. Kelly and being within his inner circle for the better part of 25 years.”

“I don’t know what the tape is,” Greenberg said of the video Avenatti gave prosecutors. “We haven’t seen it. No one’s showed us the tape.”

The new charges marked “a watershed moment,” Avenatti said, adding that he believes more than 10 other people associated with Kelly should be charged as “enablers” for helping with the assaults, transporting minors and covering up evidence.

The video surfaced during a 10-month investigation by Avenatti’s office. He told the AP that the person who provided the VHS tape knew both Kelly and the female in the video.

The jury in 2008 acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges that arose from a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and the young woman allegedly seen with him denied they were in the 27-minute video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand. Kelly could have gotten 15 years in prison.

Charging Kelly now for actions that occurred in the same time frame as the allegations from the 2008 trial suggests the accusers are co-operating this time and willing to testify.

Because the alleged victim 10 years ago denied that she was on the video and did not testify, the state’s attorney office had little recourse except to charge the lesser offence under Illinois law, child pornography, which required a lower standard of evidence.

Each count of the new charges carries up to seven years in prison. If Kelly is convicted on all 10 counts, a judge could decide that the sentences run one after the other — making it possible for him to receive up to 70 years behind bars. Probation is also an option under the statute.

Legally and professionally, the walls began closing in on Kelly after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and the multipart Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired last month. Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”

#MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly’s music and promoters not to book any more concerts. Protesters demonstrated outside Kelly’s Chicago studio.

Police officers stand guard in front of R. Kelly’s recording studio in the West Loop as city inspectors go through the property on Jan. 16, 2019 in Chicago. A judge granted the city permission to inspect the property last week because the city suspected people may be living in the studio which was not zoned for residential use. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

As recently as Thursday, two women held a news conference in New York to describe how Kelly picked them out of a crowd at a Baltimore after-party in the mid-1990s when they were underage. They said Kelly had sex with one of the teens when she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and could not consent.

Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington were joined by lawyer Gloria Allred when they told their story publicly for the first time.

In the indictment, the prosecution addressed the question of the statute of limitations, saying that even abuse that happened more than two decades ago falls within the charging window allowed under Illinois law. Victims typically have 20 years to report abuse, beginning when they turn 18.

The singer and songwriter, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side and has retained a sizable following. 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.

Rochelle Washington, left, and attorney Gloria Allred, right, look on Latresa Scaff speaks during a news conference in New York, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Kelly broke into the R&B 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’.”

Months after those successes, the then-27-year-old Kelly faced allegations he married 15-year-old Aaliyah, the R&B star who later died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. Kelly was the lead songwriter and producer of Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album.

Kelly and Aaliyah never confirmed the marriage, though Vibe magazine published a copy of the purported marriage license. Court documents later obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times showed Aaliyah admitted lying about her age on the license.

Jim DeRogatis, a longtime music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, played a key role in drawing the attention of law enforcement to Kelly. In 2002, he received the sex tape in the mail that was central to Kelly’s 2008 trial. He turned it over to prosecutors. In 2017, DeRogatis wrote a story for BuzzFeed about the allegations Kelly was holding women against their will in Georgia.

 

@repost Children of Divorce

Via Social and Domestic Agreements

source https://canoe.com/entertainment/celebrity/r-kelly-due-in-court-to-face-sex-abuse-charges

By The Wall of Law February 24, 2019 Off

R. Kelly

R. Kelly

R. Kelly’s lawyer rejects the allegations that the R&B singer sexually abused anyone, telling reporters: “He is a rock star. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex.”

Lawyer Steve Greenberg also said he thinks the four people the R&B singer is charged with sexually abusing are all lying.

Greenberg made the comments to reporters Saturday after a judge set Kelly’s bond at $1 million.

Kelly was booked Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four female victims, including three who were between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx says the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade.

Kelly was tried and acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. has set Kelly’s bond at $1 million.

The judge said during Saturday’s hearing in Chicago that the amount equals $250,000 for each of the four people he’s charged with sexually abusing.

Lyke called the allegations against Kelly “disturbing” during the hearing. The singer stared at the floor while the judge was speaking and looked dejected.

R. Kelly surrenders to authorities at Chicago First District police station, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. . (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

The arrest sets the stage for another #MeToo-era celebrity trial. Bill Cosby went to prison last year, and former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial.

Best known for hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly was charged a week after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he gave prosecutors new video evidence of the singer with an underage girl.

At a news conference earlier Friday in Chicago, Avenatti said a 14-year-old girl seen with R. Kelly on the video is among four victims mentioned in the indictment. He said the footage shows two separate scenes on two separate days at Kelly’s residence in the late 1990s.

During the video, both the victim and Kelly refer to her age 10 times, he said.

Avenatti said he represents six clients, including two victims, two parents and two people he describes as “knowing R. Kelly and being within his inner circle for the better part of 25 years.”

“I don’t know what the tape is,” Greenberg said of the video Avenatti gave prosecutors. “We haven’t seen it. No one’s showed us the tape.”

The new charges marked “a watershed moment,” Avenatti said, adding that he believes more than 10 other people associated with Kelly should be charged as “enablers” for helping with the assaults, transporting minors and covering up evidence.

The video surfaced during a 10-month investigation by Avenatti’s office. He told the AP that the person who provided the VHS tape knew both Kelly and the female in the video.

The jury in 2008 acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges that arose from a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and the young woman allegedly seen with him denied they were in the 27-minute video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand. Kelly could have gotten 15 years in prison.

Charging Kelly now for actions that occurred in the same time frame as the allegations from the 2008 trial suggests the accusers are co-operating this time and willing to testify.

Because the alleged victim 10 years ago denied that she was on the video and did not testify, the state’s attorney office had little recourse except to charge the lesser offence under Illinois law, child pornography, which required a lower standard of evidence.

Each count of the new charges carries up to seven years in prison. If Kelly is convicted on all 10 counts, a judge could decide that the sentences run one after the other — making it possible for him to receive up to 70 years behind bars. Probation is also an option under the statute.

Legally and professionally, the walls began closing in on Kelly after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and the multipart Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired last month. Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”

#MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly’s music and promoters not to book any more concerts. Protesters demonstrated outside Kelly’s Chicago studio.

Police officers stand guard in front of R. Kelly’s recording studio in the West Loop as city inspectors go through the property on Jan. 16, 2019 in Chicago. A judge granted the city permission to inspect the property last week because the city suspected people may be living in the studio which was not zoned for residential use. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

As recently as Thursday, two women held a news conference in New York to describe how Kelly picked them out of a crowd at a Baltimore after-party in the mid-1990s when they were underage. They said Kelly had sex with one of the teens when she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and could not consent.

Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington were joined by lawyer Gloria Allred when they told their story publicly for the first time.

In the indictment, the prosecution addressed the question of the statute of limitations, saying that even abuse that happened more than two decades ago falls within the charging window allowed under Illinois law. Victims typically have 20 years to report abuse, beginning when they turn 18.

The singer and songwriter, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side and has retained a sizable following. 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.

Rochelle Washington, left, and attorney Gloria Allred, right, look on Latresa Scaff speaks during a news conference in New York, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Kelly broke into the R&B 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’.”

Months after those successes, the then-27-year-old Kelly faced allegations he married 15-year-old Aaliyah, the R&B star who later died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. Kelly was the lead songwriter and producer of Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album.

Kelly and Aaliyah never confirmed the marriage, though Vibe magazine published a copy of the purported marriage license. Court documents later obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times showed Aaliyah admitted lying about her age on the license.

Jim DeRogatis, a longtime music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, played a key role in drawing the attention of law enforcement to Kelly. In 2002, he received the sex tape in the mail that was central to Kelly’s 2008 trial. He turned it over to prosecutors. In 2017, DeRogatis wrote a story for BuzzFeed about the allegations Kelly was holding women against their will in Georgia.

 

@repost Marriage Separation

Via Agreement to Keep Property Separate

source https://canoe.com/entertainment/celebrity/r-kelly-due-in-court-to-face-sex-abuse-charges

By The Wall of Law February 24, 2019 Off