(AllHipHop News) R. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and sex trafficking at the start of his trial in New York.
The R&B star’s two girlfriends, Azriel Clary, and Joycelyn Savage flew in from Chicago, Illinois to support the embattled singer, who was again denied bail.
He was arrested and denied bail last month and slapped with a five-count New York federal indictment, which includes racketeering and kidnapping.
Kelly was also handed a 13-count indictment in Illinois federal court. He has denied all the allegations against him, calling his alleged victims “disgruntled groupies.”
According to the federal indictment, Kelly was involved in a scheme to lure minors to participate in sexually-explicit acts on camera. Lawmakers also claim Kelly and his associates “traveled throughout the United States and abroad to recruit women and girls” for the sex tapes, and “physically restrained the women.”
He is also accused of breaches of the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of anyone across state lines for illicit sexual purposes.
Four of the five New York counts against Kelly are violations of the Mann Act.
According to court papers, Kelly met one of the alleged victims at a concert and another at a radio station, where she worked as an intern.
Prosecutors allege the singer arranged for some victims to meet him on the road for illegal sex and had one travel to a show on Long Island, New York in 2017, where he had unprotected sex with her without telling her he had contracted an infectious venereal disease – a violation of New York state law.
Kelly’s lawyers claim each of the victims came to his shows and “pined to be with him,” revealing their client became friends with the “groupies and fans.”