A September trial date has been tentatively set for R. Kelly’s Chicago sex abuse case after months of pandemic-related delays. On Tuesday (Dec. 22), U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber said jury selection for Kelly’s case will begin on Sept. 13, though the trial date is “not set in stone” and could change depending on the state of the Coronavirus.
The trial will address Kelly’s sex abuse charges in the state. The disgraced R&B singer is accused of filming himself having sex with underage girls and he and his co-defendants are also charged with paying off and intimidating witnesses and victims in his 2008 child pornography trial.
Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg agreed to the September trial date as long as it remained flexible due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Greenberg said officials at the Metropolitan Correctional Center — where Kelly’s been locked up since last summer — have “done their best” to facilitate communication amidst the pandemic, but that “access to [his] client has been difficult.”
“We’ve had a block of time several days of week... but then the other day, there was no signal from the MCC. That impacts our ability to review documents,” Greenberg claimed, adding that the pandemic has limited his ability to prepare a defense in Kelly’s case.
After Thanksgiving, a COVID-19 outbreak led to over 120 inmates at the MCC being infected, the Tribune writes. However, no deaths among the inmates or staff have been reported.
After months of delays, Kelly’s Brooklyn case was also recently scheduled to tentatively begin in April. That trial will address Kelly’s federal charges in New York, which include sex trafficking and racketeering. He also faces felony criminal sex abuse charges in Cook County, Illinois and is charged with soliciting a minor and prostitution in Minnesota. The 53-year-old could face decades in prison if convicted in either of his Chicago or New York cases.