R. Kelly and his lawyers were back in court in Chicago on Wednesday where prosecutors turned over a DVD allegedly showing Kelly having sex with an underage victim.
Judge Lawrence Flood presided over the case and warned there could be criminal charges against anyone who shares the video.
Shortly before the hearing was set to begin, the singer walked into court wearing a dark suit and aviator sunglasses. He did not address the media waiting outside as he entered the building with an entourage of handlers following close behind.
Flood said he would like to set a trial date for next year on whichever case prosecutors decide to bring to trial first. Kelly is currently facing 18 felony sexual-assault charges .
“The point is, I want to move these cases along,” Flood said during the hearing.
Kelly’s next hearing is set for Aug. 15.
R. Kelly arrives for a hearing on sexual abuse charges at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on June 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP)KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: R. Kelly ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1HV421 (Photo: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI, AFP/Getty Images)
Kelly’s lawyers got what they wanted on Wednesday when Cook County prosecutors produced the old video tape that allegedly shows Kelly having sex with a teenager sometime in the 1990s.
The R&B singer has been charged with two sets of multiple sex-crimes (including aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault by force, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated criminal sexual abuse against an accuser who was between the ages of 13 and 17) involving four women, three of whom were underage at the time of their encounters.
Kelly, 52, was first indicted on 10 charges in February; he was indicted on eight more charges in early June. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
R. Kelly arrives at the courthouse in Chicago on June 6, 2019, to be arraigned on 11 new charges of criminal sexual abuse. (Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Two of Kelly’s accusers are represented by crusading attorney Michael Avenatti, who claimed he discovered a late-’90s videotape that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old. Avenatti told reporters he turned over the tape to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to use in her prosecution of Kelly.
But Nicole Blank Becker, one of Kelly’s lawyers, told USA TODAY the defense still has not seen this alleged video and wants a judge to order a copy be turned over as part of the discovery process.
The defense also has demanded that Foxx’s office turn over any communication between prosecutors and Avenatti, which Becker said has not happened yet. Avenatti is now more controversial than ever after he was indicted on three sets of federal charges in two states, including allegations of extortion and stealing from clients.
Meanwhile, Foxx herself is under investigation by an outside-county special prosecutor over her handling of the collapsed case against actor Jussie Smollett, who escaped prosecution on accusations of filing a false police report about an alleged hate-crime attack after prosecutors abruptly dropped the charges. Foxx has been under fire from police, politicians, and other state prosecutors ever since.
For about two decades, Robert Sylvester Kelly has faced multiple allegations of sexual abuse of women and girls, including sex with underage girls and accusations that he trapped female fans in a “sex cult” that cut them off from their families and subjected them to degrading abuse.
He has been charged with a sex crime only once, in Chicago, and was acquitted in 2008. Then, in January, a six-part documentary began airing on Lifetime, “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which women came forward on camera to accuse Kelly of shocking abuse.
Saying she was “sickened” by the allegations, Foxx called a press conference in January to solicit accusers and witnesses to come forward. In February, she announced the state indictments of Kelly.
Soon after, suggestions emerged that Kelly also was under parallel investigations by federal authorities in Illinois and in New York.
In addition, he is fighting several civil suits accusing him of sexual abuse, including one from one of the accusers in the Cook County criminal case.
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