new charges
February 14, 2020

R. Kelly is facing even more allegations of sexually abusing minors as he's hit with new federal charges.

A superseding indictment in Chicago alleges Kelly sexually abused a minor identified as "Minor 6" for four years beginning in 1997, the Chicago Tribune reports. Kelly was already facing charges in four jurisdictions for his alleged decades of sexual abuse and was charged in Chicago last year, but the Chicago Sun-Times reports the new superseding indictment appears to remove a person from the list of victims as it adds a new one, although the Sun-Times notes it's "largely similar to the original indictment."

The indictment made public on Friday also seeks the forfeiture of assets from Kelly's production company and the company of his business manager and co-defendant.

Last year, Kelly was hit with a 13-count indictment in Chicago, as prosecutors allege he conspired to rig his 2008 child pornography trial by paying off witnesses and victims, Variety reports. He has pleaded not guilty and is currently being held without bond in Chicago. He's also facing charges in New York and Minnesota, as well as more charges in Cook County.

The disgraced R&B star's attorney tweeted Friday that "we are aware of the superseding indictment" and "we continue to fight for him and look forward to the day he is free." Although Kelly's Chicago trial was set to start at the end of April, the Tribune notes it now appears likely it will be delayed. Brendan Morrow

October 22, 2019

Lori Loughlin has just been hit with a brand new charge in the college admissions scandal.

The Full House actress and 10 other parents were charged by a grand jury Tuesday for having allegedly "conspired to commit federal program bribery by bribing employees of the University of Southern California (USC) to facilitate their children's admission," ABC News and CNN report.

Loughlin had previously been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud after being arrested in March for her role in what the Department of Justice has said is the largest college admissions scandal it has ever prosecuted. Prosecutors say Loughlin paid $500,000 to have her daughters falsely admitted to the University of Southern California as rowing recruits despite not being rowers.

She's one of the two most high-profile parents charged in the scandal, with the other being Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty and is currently serving two weeks in prison. Unlike Huffman, Loughlin has pleaded not guilty. When Huffman received her 14-day sentence, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig described this as "very bad news" for Loughlin, since this sentence would likely be the "absolute floor." TMZ reported Tuesday, though, that prosecutors are "open to plea discussions" with Loughlin.

In a statement Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said, "Our goal from the beginning has been to hold the defendants fully accountable for corrupting the college admissions process through cheating, bribery and fraud. The superseding indictments will further that effort." Brendan Morrow

August 26, 2019

Harvey Weinstein is now facing two additional charges, but his trial won't take place next month as previously scheduled.

The disgraced producer on Monday pleaded not guilty to two new predatory sexual assault charges, NBC News reports. The new charges are in relation to allegations from The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, who alleges Weinstein raped her in Manhattan in 1993. Originally, the Weinstein trial was to begin on Sept. 6, but a judge on Monday delayed it to Jan. 6.

Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual assault and rape by dozens of women, previously pleaded not guilty to five felonies, which relate to two alleged sexual assaults. Because Weinstein was already facing two predatory sexual assault charges, CNN reports that if the judge "finds them duplicative" of the previous charges, the new charges may "effectively swap out the old" ones. Weinstein has denied any wrongdoing.

Sciorra is being represented by famed attorney Gloria Allred, who on Monday said that the actress is ready to take the stand during the trial, Reuters reports. Prosecutors have said that this indictment will allow her to do so, notes The Associated Press. Weinstein's attorneys call this an "11th-hour maneuver" by the prosecutors and will seek to dismiss the indictment.

This indictment comes as Weinstein's attorneys are also seeking to have his trial moved out of New York City, arguing he could not receive a fair trial there while citing his having been mentioned more than 11,000 times in The New York Post, The New York Times reports, though the Times notes that "it is not at all clear" that he "has a better reputation elsewhere in the state." Brendan Morrow

August 5, 2019

R. Kelly has just been hit with even more criminal charges.

Authorities in Minnesota on Monday charged the R&B singer with two prostitution and solicitation charges, The Associated Press reports. This comes in connection with a 2001 incident in which Kelly allegedly paid an underage girl he met at a concert $200 to come back to his hotel room and take off her clothes.

Kelly was in February charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and in July was arrested on federal charges over his alleged abuse of underage girls. Kelly, who was recently denied bail in New York, has rejected the allegations, and his attorney on Monday called the new Minnesota charges "beyond absurd."

Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman on Monday said that there was "sexual contact" between Kelly and the alleged victim, although he said that there wasn't "sexual intercourse," reports Fox 9's Paul Blume. "We're going to make sure that justice is done in Minnesota," he added.

Freeman also said in response to those who might say this is "piling on" after all of the other charges that Kelly has faced, "Frankly, Minnesota victims deserve their day in court and that’s why we’re here," Variety reports. "In my view, too many prosecutors are ignoring victims. This one doesn’t." He suggested it's possible that the case won't go to trial, but said that this "doesn’t disturb me whatsoever" provided that Kelly "spends time for the crimes he's committed elsewhere." Brendan Morrow

June 21, 2019

Cardi B has reportedly been indicted by a grand jury on felony charges.

Although this indictment will remain sealed until next week, The Associated Press reports that the 26-year-old rapper was indicted on Friday on two counts of felony attempted assault. TMZ had previously reported that she had been indicted on 14 charges, including two counts of felony attempted assault, as well as misdemeanor reckless endangerment and criminal solicitation.

These charges are in connection with a fight Cardi B and a group she was with were allegedly involved in at Queens' Angels Strip Club in August 2018, during which "chairs, bottles and hookah waters pipes were thrown" and two bartenders were injured, The Associated Press reports. A lawyer for the bartenders said last year that Cardi B "committed violent assaults against my clients," The Washington Post reports.

Cardi B had previously been charged with two misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, as well as one misdemeanor count of assault, CNN reports. Her lawyer has said "we are not aware of any evidence that she caused anybody any harm at the club that night." Brendan Morrow

May 22, 2019

Michael Avenatti has just been hit with even more federal charges.

Prosecutors with the Southern District of New York on Wednesday announced that Avenatti has been indicted on fraud and aggravated identity theft charges related to his time representing Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims she had an affair with President Trump in 2006.

Avenatti is accused of using a fraudulent document "purporting to bear his client's name and signature" to convince her literary agent to divert money she was owed to his own account. He then allegedly used this money for "personal and business purposes." Although Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is not mentioned by name in the indictment, ABC and NBC both report she is the client prosecutors are referring to.

“Michael Avenatti abused and violated the core duty of an attorney – the duty to his client," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said on Wednesday, going on to say Avenatti "blatantly lied to and stole from his client to maintain his extravagant lifestyle."

Prosecutors also said that Avenatti falsely told his client that her publisher was refusing to pay her, even though he had himself received the money. Avenatti has denied the charges, saying in a statement to ABC News, "No monies relating to Ms. Daniels were ever misappropriated or mishandled."

Avenatti has also now been officially indicted with previously-announced charges over an alleged attempt to extort millions of dollars from Nike. This comes after he had additionally been hit with charges from the Central District of California over alleged wire and bank-fraud in a separate case, with prosecutors accusing him of stealing millions of dollars from clients and using it for his own expenses; with these charges, he was already looking at a potential prison sentence of up to 335 years. Brendan Morrow

April 11, 2019

A grand jury has indicted attorney Michael Avenatti on 36 federal counts, and he's potentially looking at life in prison.

Prosecutors on Thursday said Avenatti, the lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Trump, had been hit with these charges in connected to alleged wire, tax, bank, and bankruptcy fraud.

Avenatti allegedly stole millions of dollars from five clients, including a paraplegic man, said U.S. Attorney Nicola Hanna. Prosecutors said Avenatti would receive money from clients and use it to "finance his business and his personal expenses," in one case including a private jet.

Hanna also said Avenatti submitted "clearly fake" income tax form to receive a loan. And he allegedly filed documents in bankruptcy court that "fraudulently understated" the amount of money his bankrupt law firm was receiving. Ryan Korner, the special agent in charge of the IRS criminal investigation in Los Angeles, added that Avenatti has not filed a personal income tax return since 2010 and took steps to "obstruct and impede" IRS efforts to collect payroll taxes his coffee company owed.

If convicted of the 36 counts, Hanna said Avenatti faces a maximum sentence of 333 years in prison, plus another two-year mandatory consecutive sentence for aggravated identity theft.

Avenatti, who last month was arrested for allegedly trying to extort Nike while at the same time facing charges over alleged fraud, said on Thursday that he will plead not guilty and that he looks "forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me." Brendan Morrow

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