Artist R. Kelly performs the national anthem before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks in New York. Chicago prosecutors have charged R. Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse, according to media reports citing court records. File photo: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II.

Chicago - R&B star R. Kelly was charged Friday in Chicago with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse, some involving minors.

Nine of the charges of the 52-year-old embattled singer -- dogged for decades by sexual abuse allegations involving underage women -- concern minors ages 13 to 16, a Cook County court official told AFP.

The bombshell development comes as the artist -- real name Robert Sylvester Kelly -- has faced renewed public scrutiny after a scathing docu-series shed new light on his checkered past.

The R&B luminary has a court date scheduled for March 8 in Chicago, where he resides, the court official said.

Kelly -- known for hits like "I Believe I Can Fly" -- over the years has faced a slew of lawsuits and accusations over child pornography, sex with minors, operating a sex cult and sexual battery.

"After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R. Kelly has arrived," tweeted attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing several clients linked to the American singer.

Last week, Avenatti -- who also represents a porn star locked in a legal battle with President Donald Trump -- announced his office had uncovered previously unreleased footage of Kelly having sex with a young girl that the lawyer gave to the Cook County State's Attorney.

It is the second time Cook County prosecutors have charged Kelly with a sex crime: after a dramatic trial that also involved a sex tape, the musician was acquitted of 21 counts of child pornography in 2008.

AFP