Eleven months after R. Kelly was convicted in New York on federal racketeering and sex trafficking counts, the R&B singer is back in court for a new trial in his hometown of Chicago to face more sex abuse charges.
Jury selection got underway Monday at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in the trial, which is expected to last up to four weeks.
This time, the Grammy-winning performer faces child pornography and obstruction of justice charges.
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The singer’s manager Derrel McDavid and his personal assistant Milton “June” Brown are co-defendants. McDavid is accused of helping Kelly obstruct justice in Kelly’s 2008 trial, and Brown is charged with receiving child pornography. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Legal analysts consider the new case a do-over of the 2008 state trial when a jury acquitted the “Ignition” performer of producing child sexual abuse material, after he allegedly recorded himself having sex with an underage girl. Kelly won that case when the alleged victim refused to testify.
The teenager, who is now in her 30s, is set testify in the new case and will be the government’s “star witness,” the Associated Press reported Monday. The woman will address claims that Kelly obstructed justice in the 2008 case by allegedly threatening and paying her off. Four other accusers are also expected to testify.
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Kelly, a prolific producer, writer and performer, was convicted last fall in Brooklyn federal court, and sentenced in June 2022 to 30 years in prison.
The decades-long allegations against the superstar singer received renewed attention when Lifetime aired its 2019 docuseries Surviving R. Kelly and followed it up with Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning.
Kelly faces two more state trials — one in the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago and the other in Minnesota. Trial dates in those two cases will be set later.