Three weeks after R. Kelly was found guilty of federal sex trafficking and racketeering charges in New York, the singer learned Wednesday that his Chicago federal trial for sex crimes and child pornography will begin August 1st, 2022.
At a hearing Wednesday — which Kelly attended via video from the Brooklyn federal jail he is currently imprisoned in — Kelly’s lawyer Steve Greenberg also revealed that Kelly was placed on suicide watch in the days following the conviction in the Brooklyn trial — a customary move for recently convicted federal prisoners, the Chicago Tribune notes — even though Kelly didn’t express any desire to harm himself.
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(Although Greenberg, Kelly’s longtime lawyer, was surprisingly removed from Kelly’s legal team just days before his Brooklyn federal trial started, the lawyer remains involved in the singer’s upcoming trials in Chicago on both federal and state charges. Greenberg told the judge Wednesday that he still expects to be a part of Kelly’s Chicago legal team when it comes to trial.)
The Chicago trial was originally scheduled to begin in April 2020 but was postponed due to the discovery of a hidden cache of 100 electronic devices previously owned by Kelly and his associates, the pandemic, as well as the outcome of the Brooklyn federal trial. The Chicago federal trial centers on the infamous sex tape at the heart of Kelly’s child pornography trial — he was found not guilty in 2008 — as well as “multiple videos” of Kelly “engaging in sex acts with five minors.”
In total, Kelly faces 13 federal charges, including sex crimes, child pornography, enticement of a minor, and obstruction of justice. Minor 1, the then-underage girl seen in the videotape that sparked Kelly’s initial child pornography trial, is expected to testify for the prosecution at the federal trial, which she refrained from doing during the 2008 trial.
Kelly did not speak to the court at Wednesday’s hearing; the Chicago Tribune reports that nobody could figure out how to unmute him over video conference.
Following his Brooklyn conviction, Kelly faces between 10 years to life in prison upon sentencing in May 2022.
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