Judge rules R. Kelly’s Chicago indictment will remain intact
The day after convicted R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced to a 30-year prison term in New York, a different federal judge denied his request to dismiss several counts from his pending case in Chicago, records show.
The decision Thursday from U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber sets the stage for Kelly’s second trial, which is slated to begin Aug. 15 at the federal courthouse downtown.
Leinenweber rejected arguments that the counts related to child pornography and sex abuse should be thrown out due to statute-of-limitations issues. He also declined to sever Kelly’s case from that of co-defendant Derrel McDavid, a request that earlier this year led to testy exchanges between attorneys for Kelly and McDavid.
Chicago-born Kelly, 55, is charged with conspiring with former associates McDavid and Milton “June” Brown to rig his 2008 child pornography case in Cook County and hide years of alleged sexual abuse of underage girls.
Defense attorneys argued that all but one count should be thrown out. But the indictment will remain intact, Leinenweber ruled, since the law was amended to extend the statute of limitations on such crimes before they had run out for these specific alleged instances.
Chicago Tribune editors’ top story picks, delivered to your inbox each afternoon.
Kelly’s attorney also asked to split some of the charges into a separate proceeding, saying that the singer wanted to testify in his own defense on some of the counts but not others. Leinenweber denied the request.
Meanwhile, Kelly’s attorney earlier this week filed an extensive request asking the judge to prohibit prosecutors from mentioning “bad acts” they say are not relevant to the charges.
Jurors should not hear evidence about Kelly’s marriage to teenage singer Aaliyah, should not hear claims that Kelly gave herpes to his sexual partners, and should not hear about his conviction last year in the federal racketeering case that earned him the 30-year prison sentence, his attorneys argued.
Kelly has recently been held in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, but likely will soon return to custody in Chicago as the second trial approaches.
Four other indictments alleging sexual abuse by Kelly brought in Cook County in February 2019 have yet to be scheduled for trial.