R. Kelly Sex Abuse Trial Set for September

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After months of delays, a federal judge in Chicago has set a tentative trial date for R. Kelly’s sex abuse case.

During a status hearing on Tuesday (Dec. 22), U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber said that jury selection will tentatively begin Sept. 13 for Kelly, who is accused of filming himself having sex with underage girls and of paying off witnesses and victims in his 2008 child pornography trial.

Prosecutors anticipate that their case will take about three weeks to present. Another status hearing is slated for March 25 and questionnaires will be sent to potential jurors in late July. However, the dates are subject to change due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Kelly’s lawyer, Steven Greenberg, told the Chicago Tribune that he would agree to set the date for trial as long as it was flexible if problems arose. Greenberg said it has been “difficult” to set up video meetings with Kelly amid a recent COVID outbreak at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he has locked up since July 2019.

Kelly is tentatively scheduled to go on trial on separate racketeering charges in New York in April, which could have an impact on the Chicago case.

The singer, who turns 54 next month, is facing decades in prison if convicted in either federal case. He’s also facing felony criminal sexual abuse charges filed in Cook County in February 2019.