R Kelly, the R’n’B superstar who was convicted last month in Brooklyn on federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges, has been scheduled to stand trial again starting August 1, 2022 in Chicago.
In this case, Kelly faces charges that he produced child pornography, enticed children into sex acts and that he and two former employees conspired to fix his 2008 criminal trial in Illinois by paying off witnesses and victims in an effort to get them to change their stories.
Judge Harry Leinenweber of US District Court set the date of Kelly’s trial for three months after he is scheduled to be sentenced in the Brooklyn case, where he faces 10 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of all nine counts against him, including eight violations of an anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act. The Chicago trial has been postponed several times because of the pandemic and the Brooklyn case.
The federal charges in Chicago came six months after Kelly, 54, became the focus of scrutiny from law enforcement following the release of the documentary ‘Surviving R Kelly’, which included testimony from several women who accused the singer of abuse dating back to the 1990s.
The conviction in Brooklyn was Kelly’s first criminal punishment despite a long history of sexual abuse allegations.
In 2008, Kelly was tried in Illinois on 14 counts of child pornography and was ultimately acquitted. According to the federal indictment in the Chicago case, which was filed in July 2019, Kelly and others paid a witness about $170,000 (Dh624,444) in 2008 to cancel a news conference at which he planned to announce that he possessed video evidence of Kelly engaging in sex acts with minors. The indictment also alleged that Kelly instructed his victims to deny to a grand jury a sexual relationship with the singer.
Kelly’s acquittal in 2008 allowed his music career to flourish, and at the trial in Brooklyn, witnesses said his escape from a conviction emboldened him, describing his behaviour as increasingly more disturbing in the following years.
Kelly will later face state sex crime charges in Illinois and Minnesota.