Musician R. Kelly was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after failing to obey a judge’s order that he pay more than $161,000 in back child support.
Dozens of reporters and photographers crammed a narrow hallway to watch Kelly, sporting black sunglasses and a dark blue suit with a lighter blue dress shirt, as he made his way through security screening before the hearing began.
Kelly, who didn’t say anything audible, pulled off the shades as he walked into Judge Lori Rosen’s courtroom on the lower level of the Daley Center.
More than an hour after Kelly entered the closed court hearing, he was led away in handcuffs, accompanied by Cook County sheriff’s deputies. “He’s in our custody,” said Sophia Ansari, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.
Recall that judge Rosen last month warned Kelly that he faced jail time unless he paid the child support. During Wednesday’s hearing, Kelly was found in contempt and ordered into custody, according to Cara Smith, chief policy officer at the sheriff’s office.
Kelly must pay $161,663 to be released from jail, she said. His next court date is March 13.
The arrest comes less than two weeks after Kelly put up $100,000 to be released from custody on criminal sexual abuse charges.
Records connected to Kelly’s divorce case have been kept secret and out of public view. But paperwork on the back child support was made public in Kelly’s criminal court file. Kelly and his ex-wife have three children together.
Kelly’s publicist, Darryll Johnson, said the musician showed up with $50,000 or $60,000, but the judge wanted the full amount paid. “As you know, he hasn’t worked in a long time,” Johnson said.
When asked how Kelly can still live in the Trump Tower, he replied that Kelly “has some money.”
Kelly was “happy” when he arrived for the hearing, not thinking he would be jailed, Johnson said. But now he is “depressed, deflated and upset.” One man heckled Johnson as he spoke to the media.
The woman who posted Kelly’s bail after the criminal charges was at the Daley Center on Wednesday but left without speaking to reporters.
Kelly was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Cook County prosecutors allege he abused four victims, three of them underage girls, over a span of 12 years. Kelly and his attorney have vehemently denied the accusations.