Just two weeks after receiving a 30-year prison term for racketeering and sex trafficking in New York, disgraced singer R Kelly has returned to a federal prison in Chicago where he will wait until his second criminal trial next month.
The 55-year-old R&B singer was sent to Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on Tuesday, July 12, from Brooklyn, where he was being detained, according to the Chicago Tribune.
On August 15, jury selection will start for his federal trial in Chicago.
He is accused of plotting, along with two other people, to cover up several complaints of sexual assault against youngsters and rig a child pornography case in Cook County in 2008.
In 2021, Kelly was found guilty in New York on allegations that he had engaged in a pattern of systematic sexual abuse of young followers, including children, over the course of decades.
In Brooklyn Federal Court, Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison on June 29 by Judge Ann M. Donnelly. Kelly had challenged both the judge’s judgment and the jury’s finding.
The US Attorney’s Office allegedly put Kelly on suicide watch as a sort of punishment, but prosecutors refuted this charge, saying Kelly’s “life circumstances obviously [caused] emotional suffering.”
In a month, jury selection will get under way at the Dirksen US Courthouse in Chicago for Kelly’s trial.
Since many of Kelly’s accusers reside in Chicago, there should be a particularly high level of attention.
Kelly faces charges that he and two co-defendants fixed his state trial in 2008, with prosecutors saying Kelly arranged for a girl and her parents to travel overseas to prevent them from talking with police prior to his 2002 indictment and later instructed them to lie to a grand jury about the case.
He was indicted in 2002 in Illinois state court on 21 counts of child pornography but was acquitted six years later by a jury.
He also has a solicitation case in Hennepin County, Minn.
Before being transferred on Tuesday, Kelly spent more than a year being held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. Immediately following his sentencing, he was placed on suicide watch.
The US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn filed court papers saying Kelly remained on suicide watch ‘for his own safety,’ following a psychological assessment.
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, filed a lawsuit alleging prison officials placed Kelly on suicide watch ‘solely for punitive purposes and because of his status as a high-profile inmate.’
Bonjean argued the measure was in violation of Kelly’s Eighth Amendment rights as he had no thoughts of harming himself. The suicide watch was eventually lifted.
Kelly’s sentence in New York also included a $100,000 fine. He was convicted of sex-trafficking and racketeering charges last September, following a six-week trial that amplified the accusations.
He has denied wrongdoing and plans to appeal his conviction.
On June 29, Judge Ann M. Donnelly handed down Kelly’s 30-year sentence in Brooklyn Federal Court.
The ‘I Believe I Can Fly Singer’ allegedly committed the heinous acts for decades before he was convicted.
Kelly declined to speak at his sentences, after the court heard accusations from angered victims about how the singer preyed on them.
During the sentencing, the judge said Kelly created ‘a trail of broken lives,’ adding that ‘the most seasoned investigators will not forget the horrors your victims endured.
‘These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,’ she said. ‘You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.’
Lizzette Martinez, one of the victims at the June hearing, said she doesn’t think Kelly’s sentence is enough ‘but [was] pleased with it.’
Martinez, who described herself to the reporters as an ‘up-and-coming singer, a girl full of life’ before she met R Kelly and became ‘a sex slave.’