Just two weeks after he was sentenced in New York to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking, R Kelly is back in a Chicago federal jail awaiting his second criminal trial next month.
The 55-year-old disgraced R&B star was transferred Tuesday from where he was being held Brooklyn to Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Kelly was first held at the correctional after he was indicted on federal charges in Chicago and New York in 2019. Jury selection for his federal trial in Chicago is set to begin Aug. 15.
He is accused of allegedly conspiring with two associates to rig a child pornography case in Cook County in 2008 and hide a slew of sexual assault allegations against minors.
Kelly was convicted in 2021 in New York on charges that he sexually abused young fans, including children, in a systematic scheme that prosecutors alleged went on for decades.
On June 29, Judge Ann M. Donnelly handed down Kelly’s 30-year sentence in Brooklyn Federal Court. Kelly had appealed the jury’s verdict and the judge’s sentence
Attorneys for Kelly claimed he was placed on suicide watch as a form of punishment by the US Attorney’s Office, but prosecutors pushed back, arguing Kelly’s ‘life circumstances undoubtedly [brought] emotional distress.’
Disgraced R&B star R Kelly was transferred Tuesday from the federal jail in Brooklyn to the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Above, Kelly is pictured during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago in 2019
Kelly was first held at the correctional after he was indicted on federal charges in Chicago and New York in 2019
Jury selection for Kelly’s trial in Chicago will begin in a month at the Dirksen US Courthouse.
Chicago is Kelly’s hometown and where many of his accusers live, so interest is expected to be especially intense.
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.
Prosecutors pushed back on R Kelly’s claims that he was placed on suicide watch as a form of punishment last week after a judge sentenced him to 30 years behind bars for sexually abusing young girls. Above, Kelly pictured during his sentencing on June 29
Kelly’s attorney filed a lawsuit alleging prison officials placed him on suicide watch at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (pictured) ‘solely for punitive purposes and because of his status as a high-profile inmate’
Assistant US Attorney Melanie Speight rejected the claims on Saturday, arguing Kelly’s ‘current life circumstances undoubtedly bring emotional distress’
Prosecutors: R Kelly is on suicide watch ‘for his own safety’
June 29: R Kelly is sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking young girls.
Kelly is transferred to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.
July 1: Kelly is placed on suicide watch.
His attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, files a lawsuit alleging prison officials placed Kelly on suicide watch ‘solely for punitive purposes and because of his status as a high-profile inmate.’
July 2: Federal authorities claim Kelly was placed on suicide watch for his own safety.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Speight writes in a court filing: ‘He is a convicted sex offender who has been sentenced to spend the next three decades in prison.’
July 3 – July 12: The suicide watch is lifted.
July 13: It emerges that Kelly has been transferred to Chicago federal jail.
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.’
The sentence caps a slow-motion fall for Kelly, who was adored by legions of fans and sold millions of albums even after allegations about his abuse of young girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s.
Widespread outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct didn’t come until the #MeToo reckoning, reaching a crescendo after the release of the docuseries ‘Surviving R Kelly’
Attorney Jennifer Bonjean comforts R Kelly at his sentencing hearing for federal sex trafficking at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn on June 29
Lizzette Martinez, one of the victims who spoke at the sentencing, said she was a ‘girl full of life’ before she met R Kelly and became ‘a sex slave.’ She added that she doesn’t think Kelly’s 30-year sentence is enough ‘but I’m pleased with it’
What was R Kelly found guilty of at his NY trial?
R Kelly stood trial Brooklyn federal court last year after he was accused of being the ringleader of a sex ring involving women and underage girls and boys.
The charges were first brought in a five-count superseding indictment in Brooklyn federal court in July 2019.
In March 2020, he was slapped with additional charges upgrading the case to a nine-count indictment.
The charges relate to allegations involving six alleged victims – five women named as Jane Does in the indictment and the singer Aaliyah. These charges are:
ONE COUNT OF RACKETEERING – GUILTY
The racketeering charge includes 14 underlying acts including: one act of bribery, three acts of sexual exploitation of a child, one act of kidnapping, three acts of forced labor and six acts of violating the Mann Act.
Racketeering charges are used where there is an ‘enterprise’, mob or mafia running organized crime operations.
In this case, Kelly is accused of running a racketeering ‘enterprise’ for two decades made up of his ‘inner circle’ of managers, bodyguards and other employees who would help him recruit women, girls and boys for him to sexually exploit and traffic them around the US.
EIGHT COUNTS OF VIOLATING THE MANN ACT – GUILTY
The Mann Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to traffic people across state lines for prostitution or illegal sexual activity.
Four of these charges relate to an incident involving Jane Doe #5 in 2015 while the other four involve Jane Doe #6 in separate incidents in May 2017 and February 2018.
Three of these charges involve Kelly allegedly exposing the two women to herpes without informing them.
Widespread outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct didn’t come until the #MeToo reckoning, reaching a crescendo after the release of the docuseries ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’
Kelly’s lawyers argued he should get no more than 10 years in prison because he had a traumatic childhood ‘involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence.’
As an adult with ‘literacy deficiencies,’ the star was ‘repeatedly defrauded and financially abused, often by the people he paid to protect him,’ his lawyers said.
Allegations that Kelly abused young girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s. He was sued in 1997 by a woman who alleged sexual battery and sexual harassment while she was a minor.
Kelly was convicted after the jury heard how he used his entourage of managers and aides to meet girls and keep them obedient, an operation prosecutors said amounted to a criminal enterprise.
Several accusers testified that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.
The accusers alleged they were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments such as violent spankings if they broke what one referred to as ‘Rob’s rules.’
Some said they believed the videotapes he shot of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.
According to testimony, Kelly gave several accusers herpes without disclosing he had an STD, coerced a teenage boy to join him for sex with a naked girl who emerged from underneath a boxing ring in his garage, and shot a shaming video of one victim showing her smearing feces on her face as punishment for breaking his rules.
Evidence was also presented about a fraudulent marriage scheme hatched to protect Kelly after he feared he had impregnated R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15.
Witnesses said they were married in matching jogging suits using a license falsely listing her age as 18; he was 27 at the time.
Aaliyah worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.’ She died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.
The abuse continued for years while Kelly continued to sell millions of albums.
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