For the victims of R&B singer R. Kelly, his sentencing in New York on Wednesday was eagerly awaited, following decades of sexual and physical abuse charges. But Wednesday’s ruling aside, the former entertainer will remain in serious legal peril – and any jail time he faces could end up increasing further.
Mr. Kelly is due to stand trial again in Chicago on August 15, where he faces federal charges of producing child pornography and enticing minors into sexual acts.
He will come 14 years after his first trial in Illinois, a high-profile case in 2008 where he was acquitted on more than a dozen counts of child pornography.
Now prosecutors say Mr Kelly and two former employees, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, tried to manipulate the outcome of the case, paying off witnesses and victims to buy their cooperation. One man, for example, received around $170,000 in 2008 to cancel a press conference where he was to announce he had video evidence of the singer’s unlawful sexual behavior, according to the indictment.
Mr. Kelly and his two former employees have pleaded not guilty to the allegations. Mr. Kelly also faces other sex crimes charges in the state of Illinois and charges of prostitution with a minor in Minnesota.
The scene at the Chicago courthouse could be very different from the trial in New York, where only a few supporters of Mr Kelly arrived to watch the proceedings each day. Throughout his career, Mr. Kelly has relied on his deep ties to his hometown of Chicago and has retained a strong following in the city.
Yet the August trial is unlikely to fully reflect the atmosphere surrounding his first case, when Mr Kelly was asked to perform alongside children at a Chicago church the same day he pleaded not guilty to the charges. child pornography charges. As he left the courthouse after his acquittal, Mr Kelly greeted a large number of supporters, who cheered, with little pushback from others in the crowd.