R. Kelly has entered a new plea in connection to his highly-publicized sexual assault and abuse case.
The singer pleaded not guilty in a Chicago court Thursday on 11 new charges, including four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, The Associated Press reported.
During the brief hearing, Kelly listened to the counts, which include criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The most damaging counts of aggregated criminal sexual assault are Class X felonies. They can carry a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. The other counts are Class 1 and 2 felonies, which carry less harsh penalties.
The charges, which specifically pertain to one of the four accusers in the case Kelly was previously indicted in, were brought against Kelly in May.
In February, Kelly was arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four women; three of the women were minors when the alleged sexual allegations took place.
“It’s the same case. It’s just that they’ve just changed what they’ve charged him with,” said Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg to the AP June 6. “It’s the same facts … the same bond, the same evidence. We expect the same result.”
Kelly did not speak to reporters following the hearing. Still, his lawyer said of how his client was doing, “It’s tough. Everything is against him.”
Meanwhile, the singer’s spokesman, Darryll Johnson, told press the Grammy winner is feeling “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.”
The charges involve an alleged victim identified in the documents at “J.P.” Citing a Facebook post the victim made, the AP stated Jerhonda Pace, who went public with her accusations against Kelly in 2017, said she is the person known as J.P. in the filing. She allegedly wrote in her post, “no matter how ‘wrong’ you think I am, the law is on my side, a MINOR at the time.”
Pace broke her non-disclosure agreement to detail her allegations, which followed claims that emerged a month prior that Kelly had women holed up in his home in an allegedly abusive sex cult. Pace said she began an underage sexual relationship with Kelly in 2009, a year after she met Kelly at his child pornography trial.
Court documents state Kelly, among other things, used force or threatened to do so to pressure the alleged victim to have sex with him or engage in fellatio. According to BuzzFeed News, sometimes Kelly would commit battery during the crimes.
For his part, Kelly has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
“All of them are lying,” he said in a March interview on “CBS This Morning” of his accusers. “I have been assassinated.”