Feds say they ‘will be starting that process’ of moving R. Kelly to Brooklyn to prepare for trial

Kelly has been held in Chicago’s downtown federal lock-up since 2019. But the judge presiding over his case in Brooklyn said Thursday Kelly will likely go to trial there in August.

SHARE Feds say they ‘will be starting that process’ of moving R. Kelly to Brooklyn to prepare for trial

R. Kelly pleads not guilty to a new indictment before Judge Lawrence Flood at Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on June 6, 2019.

E. Jason Wambsgans/AFP via Getty Images

Federal prosecutors in New York said they “will be starting that process” of moving R&B singer R. Kelly from Chicago’s downtown lock-up to custody in Brooklyn, where Kelly appears likely to stand trial for racketeering later this year.

U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly checked in with lawyers in the case during a status hearing Thursday. A prosecutor said the government would be prepared to put Kelly on trial Aug. 9. Defense attorney Steve Greenberg asked questions about logistics, but confirmed Kelly’s legal team would be ready “if it’s going to be an essentially normal trial.”

Though it’s still unclear how “normal” the trial would be in the COVID-19 era, Donnelly concluded “We’re good to go.”

Greenberg last month also told the federal judge presiding over Kelly’s case in Chicago he was “certain” Kelly’s case in Brooklyn would go to trial in August

He also said that trial would likely overlap with a tentative trial date in Chicago, so U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber told the lawyers in the Chicago case to discuss a new trial date. They are due back before Leinenweber on July 15. 

The coronavirus pandemic repeatedly thwarted attempts to put Kelly, 54, on trial in 2020. Instead, he’s been held in federal custody in Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center despite multiple requests for pretrial release. 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. The judge there has agreed to keep jurors in the case anonymous and “partially sequestered.”

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

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