According to federal prosecutors, last year a bank account controlled by embattled singer R. Kelly received at least $1.2million and was opened shortly after the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer was charged with multiple sex crimes in Cook County Circuit Court and in New York, as the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The feds said that Kelly opened the bank account in the name of a nominee, and in recorded phone calls in jail, the songwriter appears to have directed people to contact that person “to receive payments indirectly from Kelly.”
According to prosecutors, investigators were looking into this account when they unexpectedly had possession of bank records belonging to an attorney representing Kelly in federal court in Brooklyn. Last month, the singer’s defense team accused the feds of an “unreasonable, intimidating, and harassing fishing expedition into the records of Mr. Kelly’s current counsel.”
Kelly’s defense team did so after discovering that the feds had obtained bank records from Kelly’s lawyers and a law firm that once represented the singer, records show. As we previously reported, the “Bump’n’ Grind” singer is accused of child pornography and obstruction of justice in federal court in Chicago, while a separate federal indictment in Brooklyn accuses Kelly of racketeering.
Although in the fall the singer is slated to go to trial in both districts, it’s unclear whether either case will move forward. On Monday (Aug. 10), prosecutors in Chicago sought to delay the trial. Nevertheless, R. Kelly has spent over a year in federal custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
For four months, the singer, songwriter, and producer had also argued that he should be released from jail amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kelly’s attorneys are now challenging his apprehension in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kelly’s lawyers have tried making their argument that the singer should be free by stating that Kelly doesn’t have the money needed to flee. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull wrote in a court filing Tuesday (Aug. 11) that bank records obtained by government investigators refute that idea.
According to Krull, Kelly opened a bank account last year in the name of a person who also incorporated a business called SomeBrotherLuv LLC in March 2019. A month later, she said that the singer assigned his music royalties to the LLC, and the singer’s royalties have been flowing into that account.
“It does not appear that Kelly received consideration in return for assigning his rights to the royalty payments,” Krull wrote. Records for the bank account were subpoenaed to indicate how the funds were being used. Investigators specifically wanted to know if the money was being used for bribes or if the funds were being diverted to assist R. Kelly to avoid financial penalties.
In 2019, that account received at least $1.2 million, according to Krull. When investigators reviewed more records to assist them in tracing payments from the account to unidentified recipients, they discovered that one recipient was a lawyer of Kelly’s. A previous filing from the singer’s defense team shows that a lawyer representing Kelly received $2,500 from SomeBrotherLuv in May 2019 for representation in a civil case.