CHICAGO — Nearly two months after he was convicted and handed a 30-year prison sentence in New York on charges of federal racketeering and sex- trafficking, disgraced musician R. Kelly is set to return to court for a second federal trial, this time on charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice, in his hometown of Chicago.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in a case that stems from the complaints of several women who allege that Kelly, 55, lured them into sex acts while they were underage. At least two are expected to testify, according to court documents.
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This trial is expected to resurface accusations brought against Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, 14 years ago in a state trial on charges of child pornography for which he was eventually acquitted with allegedly Reshona Lanfair.
Illinois federal prosecutors allege that Kelly obstructed justice in that 2008 criminal trial in Cook County, which involved a video recording of Kelly allegedly sexually abusing a minor.
The singer will be tried alongside his former business manager, Derrel McDavid, and associate, Milton “June” Brown, who are both accused of conspiring with Kelly to intimidate and bribe witnesses and cover up evidence in the 2008 trial, according to the federal charges against them.
Kelly has denied any wrongdoing.
Fourteen years ago, a jury acquitted R. Kelly of producing child sexual abuse images in spite of a horrific video that allegedly showed him sexually assaulting and urinating on a 14-year-old girl. The alleged victim is the niece of R. Kelly protege Sparkle. Their “not guilty” verdict allowed the R&B artist to walk free and continue preying on dozens of girls and young women.
“The most important thing about this trial is to highlight the travesty of justice that was the 2008 Cook County State’s Attorney’s trial,” Jim DeRogatis, the Chicago journalist who broke the story about the tape for the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002, told BuzzFeed News in a recent interview. One of the victims who testified about graphic abuse in the New York trial described how she first met Kelly outside the 2008 Chicago trial, which she attended as a young fan.
“If he had not been acquitted, how many lives would have been spared the trauma of his sexual abuse?”
In the upcoming Chicago case, Kelly is facing 13 counts, including charges of producing and receiving child sexual abuse images and obstructing justice. He is accused of recording videos of himself sexually abusing the girl in the infamous tape, as well as two other minors, and is facing charges of luring them and two more underage girls to engage in criminal sex acts with him. Prosecutors also allege that he schemed with associates to round up the illicit tapes, pay off witnesses, and persuade the girl at the center of the 2008 case and her parents to lie about the true nature of her relationship with Kelly.