Cook County State’s attorney Kim Foxx announced during a press conference on Monday (January 30) that her office is no longer pursuing the state-level charges, which were originally filed in February 2019.
They comprised of 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims — three of whom were under the age of consent — stemming from alleged incidents that occurred between 1998 and 2010.
Foxx explained that the decision was made due to a reprioritization of their “limited resources and court time.” She also cited Kelly’s 30-year prison sentence for federal sex crime convictions in New York, as well as his pending sentencing in Chicago on child pornography charges, saying that “justice has been served.”
According to Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean, though, her client isn’t exactly celebrating the news. Bonjean told TMZ that she spoke with the incarcerated singer after Foxx’s press conference, but his ongoing legal battles mean they’re not viewing it as a victory.
“There is no real sense of relief. He is still fighting for his life. He is facing decades in prison,” Bonjean said, while adding that she believes Foxx made “the right move” by dropping the charges.
The news came as an even bigger blow to Lanita Carter, one of R. Kelly’s four alleged sexual abuse victims in Cook County, who told the Chicago Tribune that she was “devastated.”
“I’ve still got to be positive. But I can’t help but say, this is some bull, this is terrible for me,” she said. “I’m upset. But I still have to find the silver lining and I’ve still got to heal. At the end of the day, I’ve got to be able to walk away. But you know, it did not feel good.”
Carter said she was introduced to R. Kelly more than 20 years ago by a member of his entourage and would regularly braid his hair. One day in 2003, the singer allegedly greeted her with his pants down and tried to force oral sex on her. “He spit on me, he ejaculated in my face,” she recalled.
Carter, who was 24 at the time, reported Kelly to the police, but no charges were filed. She came forward again in 2019 when Kim Foxx put out a request for his victims to speak up in the wake of the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, resulting in indictments being filed.
Carter revealed she first caught wind of the charges being dropped during a meeting with prosecutors in November, where she “pleaded with them” to continue to pursue the case. Her attorneys later sent the lead assistant state’s attorney on the case a lengthy letter asking them to reconsider.
It was during a Zoom call with prosecutors last week that Carter discovered the case was officially dead. “I just kept telling myself, ‘I’m not about to cry. I’m tired of crying,’” she admitted. “And then I think I just broke down … it’s like being heartbroken twice by the same person.”
She added: “My case matters. When they told me that I didn’t have a case in 2003, I said OK, and I tried to keep on going. Now I come forward again, after you call me to come forward. And now you’re saying it again.
“If you believe me, then you fight for me. If you believe me, you advocate for me,” she said. “If it’s about resources, then what about the resources wasted because you didn’t bring it forward?”
Bonjean showed little sympathy for Carter. “I don’t know that taking the stand and being subject to cross-examination is how you’re going to get relief from whatever pain you’re experiencing,” the lawyer told the Chicago Tribune in response to her client’s accuser’s comments.
“If she wants justice for Mr. Kelly, he’s in prison. He’s been sentenced to 30 years.”