R. Kelly back in court to face further sex crimes charges

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 16 2022 07:57 AM | Updated as of Aug 16 2022 11:29 AM

WASHINGTONG, United States - Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly, who is serving a 30-year sentence for sex offenses, is back in court this week facing further charges.

Jury selection began on Monday in the latest case, which is being tried in the 55-year-old's hometown of Chicago.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was convicted in New York in September of recruiting teenagers and women for sex.

The "I Believe I Can Fly" artist was found guilty of eight charges of sex trafficking and one count of racketeering.

In the Chicago case, Kelly and two ex-associates are accused of rigging the singer's 2008 child pornography trial in which the jury delivered a verdict of not guilty.

A minor victim, who has not been identified, declined to testify in the 2008 trial because of alleged threats and bribes, but is expected to take the witness stand this time.

Kelly, a three-time Grammy Award-winner, is charged with obstruction of justice, producing child pornography, and illegal sexual activity with a minor.

Also facing charges are Kelly's former manager, Derrel McDavid, and an ex-employee, Milton "June" Brown. The trial is expected to last around four weeks.

As jury selection began, Kelly's attorney Jennifer Bonjean filed a motion asking that anyone who watched a documentary called "Surviving R. Kelly" be disqualified from service.

"Any potential juror who has watched any portion of this docuseries must be disqualified for cause," the motion said.

Judge Harry Leinenweber denied the motion and proceeded to jury selection.

Kelly's conviction in New York was widely seen as a milestone for the #MeToo movement: It was the first major sex abuse trial where the majority of accusers were Black women.

It was also the first time Kelly faced criminal consequences for the abuse he for decades was rumored to have inflicted on women and children.

His accusers described events that often mirrored one another: Many of the alleged victims said they had met the singer at concerts or mall performances and were then handed slips of paper with Kelly's contact details by members of his entourage.

Core to the state's case was Kelly's relationship with the late singer Aaliyah, which began when she was around 13 years old.

Kelly wrote and produced her first album -- "Age Ain't Nothin' But A Number" -- before illegally marrying her when she was just 15 because he feared he had impregnated her.

Kelly also faces prosecution in two other state jurisdictions.