The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced Monday it is dropping charges against R. Kelly, nearly four years after they were first filed.
Kelly has already been convicted in other jurisdictions and sentenced to decades in prison — with more time likely to be added during a sentencing hearing next month.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said that because Kelly is essentially spending the rest of his life in prison, her office office should focus its resources on other cases in Cook County — specifically working on hundreds of pending cases in the sexual assault and domestic violence division.
“I believe that justice has been served,” Foxx said.
Foxx noted that Kelly wasn’t going to get any additional time from the state charges.
Cook County’s case was the first in a wave of criminal charges against Kelly. He was convicted on federal charges in New York of racketeering and sex trafficking and was sentenced last year to 30 years in prison. He also has been convicted in Chicago federal court on child pornography charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced in that case next month and faces 10 to 90 years in prison. Kelly also faces sex-related charges in Minnesota.
Foxx said the move doesn’t send the wrong message to assault survivors, pointing to the hundreds of calls from alleged victims and witnesses that had led to Kelly’s sentencing.
“The work that those victims did in coming forward has allowed for someone who has been deemed a sexual predator in a court of law to now be serving sentences for his actions,” Foxx said.
She said people should be encouraged by the work victims had done in the case.
One alleged survivor who was involved in the county’s case said that with this news “all hope of justice for [her] case is gone.”
Lanita Carter alleged she was assaulted by Kelly in February 2003. She said she went to law enforcement, and prosecutors at the time failed to pursue her case. However, she shared her story a second time when Foxx called for victims to come forward in 2019.
“Over the past several weeks, after I came to learn that the State’s Attorney’s Office was considering dismissing these cases, I pleaded with Kim Foxx and her team to see the cases through,” Carter said in the statement. “Justice has been denied for me a second time, making today’s decision that much more difficult to comprehend and accept.”
Foxx said she can sympathize with Carter, but pointed to how Kelly would not be getting any additional time and will be in prison for decades.
“I can totally sympathize that she wanted her chance to get into the box and point to him and say what he had done,” Foxx said. “It is more appropriate for us to stop where we are now, allow her to say what has happened to her, but we don’t believe we should continue these cases in a court of law.”
Kelly remains held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago.