R. Kelly Learns the Date He’s to Face the Music on Federal Sex Abuse Charges in Chicago

In this courtroom sketch, R&B singer R. Kelly, center, listens in federal court in New York with his attorneys Doug Anton, left, and Steve Greenberg during his arraignment, Aug. 2, 2019 on numerous federal sex abuse charges. Kelly faces federal charges in Chicago as well, where a judge Sept. 4, 2019, set an April 2020 date for trial there to begin.
Illustration: Aggie Kenny (via AP)

R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago on charges he sexually abused girls and paid off witnesses and victims to rig his 2008 child pornography trial is set to begin in April of next year, a federal judge decided Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, however, said the April 27, 2020, trial date could change depending on any issues that come up with regard to the Chicago charges, as well as the status of three other sex abuse and racketeering cases Kelly faces in other jurisdictions, including New York and Minnesota, the Chicago Tribune reports.

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Kelly’s attorneys had hoped to delay the judge in setting a trial date, arguing that they needed more time to prepare, given the number of cases, both federal and state, their client faces.

Said Kelly’s team, per the Tribune:

“We have limited resources, and Mr. Kelly has been charged in multiple jurisdictions, which is rather unprecedented,” his lead attorney, Steve Greenberg, told the judge, adding that one disc turned over by New York prosecutors contained at least “9,000 subfolders.”

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In addition to the federal sex abuse and obstruction of justice case in Chicago, Kelly also faces federal racketeering charges in New York involving the alleged procurement of women and girls for illicit sex as well as sexual abuse charges at the state level in both Illinois and Minnesota.

Kelly’s legal team is asking the federal judge in Chicago to grant bail in hopes he can be free before trial. They even asserted that the two young women Kelly was living with at the time of his arrest — Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary — would vouch for his return to court for trial.

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However, as the Tribune explains:

The chances of that are clearly remote, however. Leinenweber ruled in July that Kelly was a flight risk and a danger to the community, and even if he were to change his mind, the judge overseeing Kelly’s case in New York has also ordered him held no-bail.

Savage and Clary are also potential witnesses in the case.

There have also been allegations that Kelly has been keeping both Savage and Clary against their will, claims Kelly as well as the women have denied, as the Chicago Sun-Times explains. Both women were present in the Chicago courtroom Wednesday.

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All that said, Kelly is apparently a happier prisoner — now that he’s been moved out of the segregated unit of the prison where he is being held without bail before trial, and into general population.

“If you saw Robert today, he’s looks probably the best he’s looked since this ordeal began,” Kelly attorney Michael Leonard told the Tribune. “When you’re in solitary confinement ... it takes a huge psychological toll on you. You can see kind of an unburdening of his spirit now that he’s in general population.”

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