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R Kelly pleads not guilty to 11 new sex related charges

R&B singer R Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 additional sex-related charges today, including four counts of aggravated criminal assault, which carries a maximum prison term of 30 years.

That is more than four times as long as the maximum term for each of the 10 counts Kelly was originally charged with in February.

Prosecutors did not ask the judge to raise the bond amount for Kelly during the brief hearing in Cook County court.

Kelly stood with his hands folded in front of him and listened to Judge Lawrence Flood describe the charges to him. When Flood asked if he understood, Kelly, responded, “Yes, sir.”

The Grammy award-winning singer, who has denied any wrongdoing, left without speaking to reporters. A status hearing was scheduled for June 26.

Kelly's defence attorney, Steve Greenberg, said after the hearing that he couldn't speculate as to why prosecutors brought the new charges, which pertain to one of the four women he was charged in February with sexually abusing years ago, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred.

"It's the same case. It's just that they've just changed what they've charged him with," Greenberg said. "It's the same facts ... the same bond, the same evidence. We expect the same result."

Kelly's spokesman, Darryll Johnson, told reporters that Kelly is "upbeat."

"Initially, he was a little depressed," Johnson said. "But I mean, with anything, if someone accuses you of something, you'll be depressed. He knows the truth."

According to the new indictment, the first eight counts are from encounters that allegedly occurred between January 1 and January 31, 2010. Three others pertain to alleged encounters between May 1, 2009, and January 31, 2010.

Among other things, prosecutors allege that Kelly used force or threatened to do so to pressure the accuser into sex or to perform oral sex on him. Since she was underage at the time, the statute of limitations for bringing charges was extended to 20 years from her 18th birthday, they wrote.

A woman has come forward to say publicly that 11 new felony counts stem from allegations she made about the R&B singer.

Jerhonda Pace wrote on her Facebook page that she's the accuser identified as "J.P." in court documents. Anticipating an angry reaction by Kelly's fans, Pace — one of four women Kelly is charged with sexually abusing — wrote that "no matter how "wrong" you think I am, the law is on my side, a MINOR at the time."

Musician R. Kelly departs the Leighton Criminal Court building after pleading not guilty to 11 additional sex-related charges, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)
Musician R. Kelly departs the Leighton Criminal Court building after pleading not guilty to 11 additional sex-related charges, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky) Source: Associated Press