Following several pandemic-related delays, a federal judge has confirmed approval for Robert “R” Kelly to be transferred to New York City to undergo a trial where he is facing sex-trafficking charges, per ABC News.
The 50-year-old artist is facing multiple charges; the most recent charges include five counts of racketeering and four more counts of violating the Mann Act (transporting women or girls across state lines for illegal sexual activity is deemed a felony). Kelly has denied these allegations. At a recent virtual hearing, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly confirmed that the New York trial can begin on Aug. 9, though it has not been confirmed when exactly Kelly will be moving to New York.
ABC further reports:
Prosecutors in Brooklyn allege Kelly led an enterprise made up of his managers, bodyguards and other employees who helped him recruit women and girls for sex. A jury is expected to hear testimony from alleged victims, each identified in court papers only as “Jane Doe.”
Kelly has been held in federal custody in Chicago since his arrest in July 2019, where he’ll be undergoing a separate federal case involving sex pornography and obstruction, which had been scheduled to begin in September. According to a Chicago Tribune report earlier this year, one of Kelly’s attorneys, Steven Greenberg, seemed skeptical that the Chicago trial will occur as planned given the “disappointing” COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the city.
Back in November, the Chicago facility where Kelly was held was placed on lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, Kelly was involved in an altercation where an inmate attacked him last summer. His legal team has requested that their client be released on bond pending his federal trial, but all requests were denied.
“Mentally, he’s probably in as bad of shape as I’ve seen him,” Greenberg said at the time. “His mood at this point is certainly still hopeful about his case, but I think on some level he’s just very beaten down physically and mentally.”
Kelly pleaded not guilty in both the Chicago and New York cases and between the two, the artist faces many decades in prison if convicted. On Thursday, Greenberg stated his client is looking forward to the upcoming trial in New York.