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R. Kelly’s federal trial in New York pushed back to August

The pandemic repeatedly thwarted attempts to put Kelly on trial in 2020. Instead, he’s been held in federal custody in Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center, despite his multiple requests for bond.

R. Kelly walks out of the Daley Center after an appearance in child support court in March 2019.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file photo

A federal judge in Brooklyn on Tuesday delayed the trial there of R&B singer R. Kelly until August, saying an earlier trial date was unrealistic amid the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly pushed Kelly’s trial back to Aug. 9. He had earlier been set to go to trial April 7.

The pandemic repeatedly thwarted attempts to put Kelly on trial in 2020. Instead, he’s been held in federal custody in Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center, despite his multiple requests for bond. He has been held there since his arrest in July 2019, when prosecutors in Brooklyn and Chicago hit him with indictments in each district.

The Brooklyn indictment charges Kelly with racketeering and alleges Kelly led an “enterprise” made up of his managers, bodyguards, drivers and other employees who helped him recruit women and girls for sex. Last year, Donnelly agreed to keep jurors in the case anonymous and “partially sequestered.”

The judge reaffirmed that ruling this week after Kelly’s lawyers asked her to reconsider part of it.

The Chicago indictment charges Kelly with child pornography and obstruction of justice. It alleges he thwarted an earlier 2008 prosecution in Cook County with threats, gifts and six-figure payoffs.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber set a trial in the Chicago case for Sept. 13. But even as he did so, he acknowledged that date was “not set in stone.” U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer has suspended jury trials at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse until April 5.

Kelly defense attorney Steve Greenberg told the judge in Brooklyn on Tuesday that the Chicago trial date was “highly tentative.”