New date set for R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago

CHICAGO — A federal judge on Tuesday again delayed R. Kelly’s trial in Chicago on child pornography and other charges because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, postponing it to next year.

The 53-year-old R&B star has been behind bars since his arrest in July 2019, and two trial dates, for April and then October this year, were earlier struck. His new trial date is Sept. 13, 2021.

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The Grammy Award winner has pleaded not guilty to federal charges in Chicago accusing him of filming himself having sex with underage girls and of paying off potential witnesses at his 2008 trial to get them to change their stories.

During a Tuesday hearing held by phone, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber said the September date could still be subject to change.

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Once a trial gets underway, prosecutors told Leinenweber it would take about three weeks to present their evidence to jurors.

Kelly also faces federal racketeering charges in New York, as well as state charges in Illinois and Minnesota. His New York trial is scheduled to begin April 7. Kelly has denied sexually abusing anyone.

Judges have rejected several requests by Kelly to release him from jail pending trial. Kelly cited the spread of the virus at the downtown Chicago jail where he’s being held, among other reasons.