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R. Kelly’s federal Chicago case set for trial in April 2020

Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull said she expects the trial to last three weeks. Kelly still faces criminal charges in three other jurisdictions.

R&B singer R. Kelly is facing sexual abuse charges. | Chicago Police
R. Kelly’s mugshot from his February 2019 arrest. 
Chicago Police

R. Kelly will go to trial on federal child pornography, enticement and obstruction of justice charges next spring, a federal judge in Chicago said Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber set April 27, 2020 as a tentative trial date for Kelly and his two co-defendants in the case, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown. Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull said she expects the case to last three weeks.

Kelly, 52, currently faces four criminal cases in Illinois, New York and Minnesota. In the Illinois federal case, he is charged with 13 counts around child pornography, enticing a minor into illegal sexual activity and a conspiracy to obstruct justice — alleging Kelly thwarted his state court prosecution a decade ago.

Mike Leonard, one of Kelly’s attorneys, told reporters that the singer’s defense team has already received between 30 and 50 discs of discovery from federal prosecutors. Leonard said the material they’ve seen so far “supports our position that factually and legally, there’s deep flaws in the case here and there’s deep flaws in the case in New York.”

“We feel really good about what we’ve seen so far,” Leonard added.

Kelly — who has been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown since his arrest in July — is set to appear in federal court in Chicago later this month. Leinenweber could rule on a motion from Kelly’s attorneys that asks to reduce his bail, allowing him to remain out of custody until his trial date.

However, Kelly was also ordered held without bail by a federal judge in New York. Even if Leinenweber reduced Kelly’s bail, the New York judge could still order him to remain in custody.

Kelly’s federal Chicago indictment describes alleged behind-the-scenes maneuvering designed to protect Kelly during the state court prosecution. It says Kelly and others intimidated the alleged victim and her parents into lying to police and a grand jury. They also allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars as they tried to track down tapes of Kelly having sex with minors before prosecutors found them.

In the New York indictment, Kelly and his entourage were accused of acting as a criminal enterprise to “promote R. Kelly’s music and the R. Kelly brand and to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly.”

If convicted, Kelly could go to prison for as many as 195 years for the Chicago case alone. Out east, he potentially faces decades more behind bars.

The singer also faces sex abuse and child prostitution charges brought by prosecutors in Cook County and Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Kelly has denied the allegations of having sex with minors and of keeping two women who live with him against their will, as have the women, Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage — both of whom were present in court Wednesday.