Chicago Sun-Times

Feds planning to move R. Kelly to Brooklyn

- BY JON SEIDEL, FEDERAL COURTS REPORTER jseidel@suntimes.com | @SeidelCont­ent

Federal prosecutor­s in New York said they “will be starting that process” of moving R&B singer R. Kelly from Chicago’s downtown lock-up to custody in Brooklyn, where Kelly appears likely to stand trial for racketeeri­ng later this year.

U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly checked in with lawyers in the case during a status hearing Thursday. A prosecutor said the government would be prepared to put Kelly on trial Aug. 9. Defense attorney Steve Greenberg asked questions about logistics, but confirmed

Kelly’s legal team would be ready “if it’s going to be an essentiall­y normal trial.”

Though it’s still unclear how “normal” the trial would be in the COVID-19 era, Donnelly concluded “We’re good to go.”

Greenberg last month also told the federal judge presiding over Kelly’s case in Chicago he was “certain” Kelly’s case in Brooklyn would go to trial in August.

He also said that trial would likely overlap with a tentative trial date in Chicago, so U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenwebe­r told the lawyers in the Chicago case to discuss a new trial date. They are due back before Leinenwebe­r on July 15.

The coronaviru­s pandemic repeatedly thwarted attempts to put Kelly, 54, on trial in 2020. Instead, he’s been held in federal custody in Chicago’s downtown Metropolit­an Correction­al Center despite multiple requests for pretrial release. He has been held there since his arrest in July 2019, when prosecutor­s in Brooklyn and Chicago hit him with indictment­s in each district.

The Brooklyn indictment charges Kelly with racketeeri­ng and alleges Kelly led an “enterprise” made up of his managers, bodyguards, drivers and other employees who helped him recruit women and girls for sex. The judge there has agreed to keep jurors in the case anonymous and “partially sequestere­d.”

The Chicago indictment charges Kelly with child pornograph­y and obstructio­n of justice. It alleges he thwarted his 2008 prosecutio­n in Cook County with threats, gifts and sixfigure payoffs.

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R. Kelly

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