A timeline of R. Kelly’s rise and fall, from R&B superstar to convicted abuser

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R&B superstar R. Kelly’s musical achievements have long been fueled by allegations that he sexually abused women and children. Now the singer has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in her hometown of Chicago, but was acquitted in 2008 of conspiracy to obstruct justice, accusing her of fixing her state child pornography trial.

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The decision comes after New York was sentenced in June to three decades on federal sex trafficking charges. While Kelly, who was born as Robert Sylvester Kelly, has vehemently denied the allegations, his accusers testified that he subjected him to perverted and tragic whims when he was young.

A timeline of Kelly’s life through her rise and fall as an R&B artist:


1990: R. Kelly’s R&B group MGM won the $100,000 grand prize on “Big Break,” the syndicated television talent show hosted by Natalie Cole. Due to a dispute over money, this is the last time the group performed together.

January 1992: R. Kelly and Public Announce Debut “Born Into the ’90s.” Released a year later, the album went platinum.

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November 1993: His album “12 Plays” was released and sold over 5 million copies. Hit singles include “Sex Me” and “Bump N’ Grind”, which became the longest-running No. 1 R&B song in more than 30 years.

August 31, 1994: At age 27, R. Kelly married 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah D. in a secret ceremony hosted by Kelly at a Chicago hotel. Married to Houghton. The marriage is annulled after months because of Aaliya’s age. (Alia died seven years later at the age of 22 in a plane crash.)

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November 1996: R. Kelly released his third album, “R. Kelly.” A month later, they incorporated Rockland Records. Their song “I Believe I Can Fly”, from the “Space Jam” soundtrack, peaked at number 2 on the Billboard pop chart. In the same year, he married 22-year-old Andrea Lee, a dancer in his touring troupe. The couple has three children together: Joan, Jaya and Robert Jr.

February 1998: Kelly won three Grammys for “I Believe I Can Fly”.

August 2001: Tracy Sampson filed suit against Kelly, alleging that their sex was illegal under Illinois law because he was in a “position of authority” over her. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

February 8, 2002: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that it received a videotape purportedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor. The newspaper reports that Chicago police began investigating allegations about Kelly and the same girl three years ago. At the time, the girl and her parents denied that she was having sex with Kelly.

The day this news arrives, Kelly performs at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

5 June 2002: Kelly has been indicted in Chicago on child pornography charges related to sex tapes. He pleads not guilty and is released on $750,000 bail.

May 9, 2008: Kelly’s child pornography trial begins.

13 June 2008: After less than a day of deliberation, Kelly was acquitted on all counts.

27 June 2012: Kelly published her autobiography, “Soulcoaster: The Diary of Me”, which focused on her creative and family life rather than her legal troubles.

September 29, 2012: Kelly has been nominated for two Soul Train Awards, making her the most nominated act of all time at an award show.

July 17, 2017: Buzzfeed reports on parents’ claims that Kelly brainwashed their daughters and placed them in a degrading “cult.” One woman says she was with Kelly voluntarily. Activists started the #MuteRKelly movement calling for a boycott of his music.

May 2018: Spotify cut R. Kelly’s music from its playlist, citing its policy on hateful conduct. Shortly after, Apple and Pandora also stopped promoting her music. Kelly’s team backs down, noting that other artists on Spotify have been accused or convicted of crimes.

January 3, 2019: Lifetime airs the documentary “Surviving Are Kelly,” which reviews old allegations and headlines new ones. The BBC’s “R Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotape”, released last year, alleged that the singer held women against their will.

January 21, 2019: Several media outlets report that Kelly and his label, RCA Records, a subsidiary of Sony, parted ways. Kelly continues to deny all allegations of abuse.

February 22, 2019: Kelly has been arrested on 10 counts of serious sexual abuse.

February 25, 2019: Kelly’s lawyer pleaded not guilty on the singer’s behalf. Hours later, Kelly posted bail and was released from a Chicago prison.

March 6, 2019: CBS aired an interview in which Kelly vehemently denied the allegations of sexual abuse. Cook County officials took Kelly into custody after he told a judge he could not pay $161,000 in child support.

30 May 2019: Kelly has been charged with 11 new sex-related cases in Chicago. They include one of the women who accuse him of sexually abusing him when he was a minor.

11 July 2019: Kelly has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago on charges including child pornography, soliciting a minor, and obstruction of justice. A separate indictment, filed in the Eastern District of New York, includes charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual abuse of a child. He is again arrested in Chicago.

16 July 2019: A federal judge ordered Kelly to be taken into custody without bond after a prosecutor warned he was an excessive threat to young girls.

August 5, 2019: Kelly has been charged with prostitution and solicitation in Minnesota for inviting a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room in 2001 and paying her $200 to dance naked with her.

March 5, 2020: Kelly pleaded not guilty to an updated federal indictment in Chicago that includes charges of child pornography and a new felony charge.

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August 12, 2020: Federal prosecutors have announced charges against three men accused of assault and threatening women who accused Kelly of abuse, including one man suspected of setting a vehicle on fire in Florida.

August 18, 2021: The opening statements begin at Kelly’s federal trial in New York.

September 27, 2021: A jury found Kelly guilty of sex trafficking and violating the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to take anyone “for any immoral purpose” across state lines.

June 29, 2022: Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in New York.

August 15, 2022: Jury selection begins for Kelly in federal court in Chicago on charges of child pornography, solicitation and obstruction of justice.

September 14, 2022: A federal jury indicted Kelly on three counts of child pornography and three counts of soliciting children. But the jury acquitted him of a fourth pornography count, conspiracy to obstruct justice charges related to his 2008 trial, three counts of conspiracy to obtain child pornography, and two more solicitation charges.

Source: globalnews.ca

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