Singer R Kelly will go on trial in Illinois in April 2020. The trial is for 13 federal charges, for which he was arrested in July 2019. He also faces a variety of federal charges in both New York and Minnesota.
The charges were brought about after several women appeared in Lifetime’s January 2019 docuseries titled Surviving R. Kelly. The series accused Kelly of emotional and sexual abuse.
The follow-up series, Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning brought about more statements from women and celebrities regarding the alleged misconduct and painted a picture of what life was like for women the singer has dated and allegedly abused in the past. The 52-year-old R&B singer denies any allegations of sexual misconduct.
A judge set the initial trial date in September following Kelly’s July arrest. The judge said the hearing date could possibly be moved since Kelly faces similar cases in three other judicial districts.
The Trial is for Sexual Misconduct Charges
The initial trial will include the federal case that accuses Kelly of child pornography and obstruction of justice. According to the indictment, Kelly is accused of recruiting women for sex, persuading people to conceal that he had sexual contact with teenage girls and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy back missing videotapes of the encounters and to keep his victims quiet.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn say that Kelly and his entourage invited women and girls backstage after concerts, then subsequently kept them from friends and family, making them dependent on him financially. Chicago prosecutors say Kelly had sexual contact with five minors and recorded sexually explicit videos of some of them.
Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenburg said during the hearing that having to prepare for four separate trials is challenging and he wasn’t sure the legal team could be ready by April. The prosecution estimates that this trial will last for three weeks.
Kelly has been incarcerated in a Chicago federal prison since his July arrest despite his lawyers’ efforts to get him released on bail. Judges in Brooklyn and Chicago would need to sign off on the release, and Judge Donelly has refused to do so, saying there is a large risk that Kelly would flee the country. He was moved from solitary confinement to “population” in September, according to his attorney.
The Allegations go Back Years
Though Kelly and his team have denied all charges, he has been in a similar position before. In 2008, he was tried on 21 charges related to child pornography; he was accused of appearing in a 27-minute long sex tape with a minor, according to the New York Times. There was proof of the sex tape, however, the woman in the tape did not confirm it was her and did not testify against the singer. He was found not guilty of those charges.
Kelly married performer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old in 1994 after falsifying a marriage certificate to say she was 18. The marriage was annulled the following year. You can see a timeline of the history of allegations against Kelly here.
Back in February 2019, Kelly was arrested on 10 counts of sexual abuse, to which he plead not guilty and was released on bail. He was then charged with 11 more counts in May.
In October 2019, Kelly plead for release from prison on health grounds. His lawyer said Kelly was suffering from anxiety, an untreated hernia and numbness in one of his hands, going on to say that Kelly was not receiving adequate medical care. His lawyer also pointed out “severely restricted” visitation rights, stating that Kelly “lives and has lived” with two women, but only one of them is allowed to visit. He is required to switch his visitation list every 90 days.