Feds recover more than 100 electronic devices, including cellphones and hard drives, in R. Kelly case

The feds announced the results of the recent search warrant during a court hearing for the R & B singer Thursday.

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Federal authorities are continuing to build on their case against R. Kelly, recently seizing more than 100 electronic devices like cell phones and hard drives with a search warrant, and signaling plans to add another alleged victim to his case in Chicago. 

But the R&B singer’s defense attorneys say that search took place at a suburban storage facility that had been raided once before, and they criticized the ongoing evolution of allegations from the government, which last month also removed a victim from the case.

“I think it shows a certain struggle on the government’s part to be consistent in terms of who they claim are the victims in the case,” defense attorney Michael Leonard said. “It’s kind of telling at this late stage to be dropping victims entirely from the case.”

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber on Thursday delayed Kelly’s federal trial here until Oct. 13. He did so during a hearing held, in part, to arraign Kelly and his co-defendants on a new indictment filed last month. Kelly has been locked up since July and appeared in an orange jumpsuit. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull revealed the raid that led to the recovery of the electronics during that hearing but she did not say where or when the warrant was executed. 

Kelly attorney Steve Greenberg told reporters after court that the warrant had been executed at a suburban storage facility that holds Kelly’s equipment, tour bus and electronics, including computers. He said the facility, near O’Hare Airport, had also been searched last summer. 

“We expect that they’re not going to find anything incriminating,” Greenberg said.

Meanwhile, Krull also revealed plans to update Kelly’s indictment again and add a new alleged victim to the case. Greenberg later told reporters, “people come out of the woodwork.”

“There is no one new,” Greenberg said. “They’re not going to find anyone new. And we’ll go to trial and we’ll challenge the evidence.”

Krull made her comments as she agreed with Kelly’s defense attorneys to delay his trial in Chicago from April to October. However, attorneys for Kelly’s co-defendant and onetime manager Derrel McDavid objected. They filed a speedy trial demand last month and asked to go to trial April 27. Krull said she wouldn’t want to take the defendants to trial separately. 

McDavid defense attorney Beau Brindley said his client’s “life is on hold here” but he asked for another week to consider next steps. An attorney for a third defendant, Kelly employee Milton Brown, did not object to the delay.

Milton Brown, a co-defendant of R&B singer R. Kelly, walks out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse after pleading not guilty to a revised set of criminal charges, Thursday, March 5, 2020.

Milton Brown, a co-defendant of R&B singer R. Kelly, walks out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse after pleading not guilty to a revised set of criminal charges, Thursday, March 5, 2020.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

For now, federal prosecutors have alleged a total of five victims in their case in Chicago. The alleged victim added to the case last month met Kelly in 1997 or 1998 at the age of 14 or 15. Prosecutors said the illegal sexual activity with that person occurred between 1997 and 2000.

Kelly has been facing federal indictments in Chicago and Brooklyn since last summer, in addition to earlier local charges in Cook County and more recent charges in Minnesota. The federal case in Chicago alleges child pornography and obstruction of justice, while the feds in Brooklyn have alleged racketeering.

The singer is set to go to trial in Brooklyn on July 7.

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