AceShowbiz - R. Kelly's child pornography trial will now take place in September 2021 after the Covid-19 pandemic led to a further delay.
The disgraced musician faces charges of creating and possessing child pornography and sexual exploitation of a minor. While he was initially due to appear in federal court in Chicago in April (20), the first wave of the coronavirus resulted in the trial being delayed until October.
And in a hearing which took place on the phone on Tuesday (22Dec20), Judge Harry Leinenweber set the new trial date for 13 September (21) although he stressed that it was still subject to change.
"I Believe I Can Fly" star Kelly, who was arrested in July 2019, is also awaiting trial on racketeering, sex-trafficking and bribery charges in New York - with that trial date set for 7 April (21).
The jurors are expected to be selected over the course of 10 days in mid-March.
In a previous order, District Judge Ann Donnelly said the jury would be anonymous and partially sequestered, explaining, "The government has established that empaneling an anonymous and partially sequestered jury is warranted."
She added that U.S. Marshals would escort the panel in and out of the Brooklyn federal courthouse each day and sequester them during breaks to protect them from outside influence.
Prosecutors requested the extra measures be taken, insisting the "I Believe I Can Fly" singer has a long history with pressuring accusers and others to escape justice. In 2008, his child pornography trial in Chicago ended in an acquittal after the singer allegedly personally tried to influence the jury, prosecutors in Brooklyn wrote.