R Kelly's sexual abuse trial postponed amid Covid-19

The previously scheduled July 7 date was not realistic in light of the coronavirus pandemic


Reuters April 17, 2020
Mandatory Credit: Photo by TANNEN MAURY/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (10144111g) US R& B singer R. Kelly (2R) arrives with attorney Steve Greenberg (L) for a child support hearing at the Cook County Circuit Court at the Daley Center in Chicago, Illinois, USA 06 March 2019. Kelly, who faces criminal sexual abuse charges, has failed to pay more than 161,000 USD in back child support. He was taken into custody to be returned to the Cook County Jail after failing to pay the full amount he owes. R. Kelly appears in court for failure to pay child suport, Chicago, USA - 06 Mar 2019

NEW YORK: Singer R Kelly’s sexual abuse trial in New York has been postponed to Sept 27 as a judge ruled on Thursday that the previously scheduled July 7 date was not realistic in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

US District Judge Ann Donnelly of the federal court in Brooklyn said at a hearing conducted by telephone that potential jurors would be summoned to fill out written questionnaires on Sept 14.

Singer R Kelly stands next to his lawyer Douglas Anton as he attends his arraignment on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking in federal court in this court sketch in New York, US, August 2, 2019. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg Singer R Kelly stands next to his lawyer Douglas Anton as he attends his arraignment on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking in federal court in this court sketch in New York, US, August 2, 2019. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Kelly filed a motion asking to be released on bail, citing multiple confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Chicago jail where he is being held. Donnelly did not rule on the motion at the hearing, and noted that a judge overseeing a separate federal case against Kelly in Chicago would also have to sign off on any release.

Known for such hits as I Believe I Can Fly and Bump N’ Grind, Kelly, 53, has faced sexual abuse allegations dating back more than two decades, including accounts from some accusers in the January 2019 Lifetime documentary Surviving R Kelly.

PHOTO: CBC PHOTO: CBC

He has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges in several cases filed in New York, Illinois, and Minnesota last year.

The Brooklyn prosecutors have accused Kelly of running a criminal scheme in which women and underage girls were recruited to have sexual activity with him.

They also charged Kelly with bribing an Illinois official in August 1994 to obtain a fake identification for the singer Aaliyah so they could get married.

Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly was charged on Thursday with 11 new felony counts of sexual assault and abuse that could, if he is convicted, send the R & B singer to prison for 30 years, the Chicago Sun Times reported. PHOTO: REUTERS Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly was charged on Thursday with 11 new felony counts of sexual assault and abuse that could, if he is convicted, send the R & B singer to prison for 30 years, the Chicago Sun Times reported. PHOTO: REUTERS

Kelly was then 27 and Aaliyah was 15, but according to published reports their marriage license listed Aaliyah’s age as 18. The marriage was annulled in 1995. Aaliyah died at age 22 in a 2001 plane crash in the Bahamas.

Federal prosecutors in the Chicago case charged Kelly last July with engaging in sex acts with five minors, recording some of his alleged abuse on video, and using threats to keep victims quiet. A trial, in that case, is scheduled for October.

Kelly was also charged last February by Illinois state prosecutors with aggravated sexual abuse, and last August by Minnesota state prosecutors with soliciting sex from a minor.

In 2008, Kelly was acquitted at trial on state child pornography charges in Illinois.

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