R. Kelly is set to stand trial in Chicago on charges relating to child pornography, enticing children into sex acts, and working to conspire to fix his 2008 trial in Illinois.
Legal name Robert Sylvester Kelly, the singer will face Judge Harry Leinenweber of the U.S. District Court on Aug. 1, 2022. According to The Chicago Tribune, Kelly was present for the hearing via video conference however was unable to speak due to technical difficulties with his mute function.
The Grammy Award-winning musician will not stand trial alone. He and two associates, Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown are all co-defendants in the criminal case.
The disgraced R&B singer was found guilty on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex-trafficking statute on Sept. 27. His lawyer, attorney Steve Greenberg, informed the judge during the latest hearing that his client was placed on suicide watch by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons following the conviction. Although he was monitored, Greenberg did not say Kelly showed any signs of wanting to harm himself.
“I think he’s talking about bringing in new lawyers in New York,” said Greenberg to U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber.
Kelly’s defense team argued there is no reason to rush the Chicago trial as the singer is still awaiting sentencing on the New York conviction. In the event the Chicago case proceeds, Kelly faces a 13-count indictment. The charges were filed in July 2019, six months after Surviving R. Kelly first aired on Lifetime. The charges accuse Kelly of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gifts, and settlements in an attempt to buy up copies of the child pornography sex tapes showing him engaged in sexual acts with underage girls.
One of the alleged victims, identified as Minor 1, was the center of the 2008 trial and is now cooperating with investigators and the prosecution. She is expected to testify if the case sees a trial. She is also named in one of four pending sexual abuse indictments filed against Kelly in Cook County in February 2019. In 2008, he was found not guilty on child pornography charges.
Kelly will be sentenced on May 4, 2022, for last month’s racketeering and sex trafficking charges. The 54-year-old faces anywhere between 10 years and life behind bars. He is also the subject of a solicitation case in state court in Minnesota.