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R. Kelly’s legal saga continues on Aug. 18.
For several years now, the star has faced allegations of sex crimes lobbed against him by many women in what has become a sensational scandal that seems to thicken with each development.
Now, the 54-year-old disgraced R&B star is set to stand trial in New York facing charges of racketeering, sexual abuse and bribery.
Prosecutors have alleged that Kelly operated a criminal scheme that saw women and underage girls be recruited for sexual activity with the star. Additionally, he and his inner circle have been accused of paying off and threatening potential accusers to maintain their silence.
He has denied the charges but now faces trial over two years after indictments were originally unsealed.
Here is a look at what you need to know ahead of the trial:
R. Kelly’s trial in New York is set to begin on Wednesday. He faces several sex crimes charges.
(E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)
What are the charges against him?
While Kelly is facing over 20 federal criminal charges, his New York trial will cover charges including sex trafficking and racketeering.
He has been charged with racketeering as well as eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits sex trafficking across state lines.
Prosecutors have also alleged that he gave an underage girl herpes without disclosing that he allegedly had the disease and conspired to obtain fake identification for a minor in the 1990s.
Why has it taken so long?
Kelly was first arrested in Chicago in 2019 and the trial was swept up in several delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During the wait, Kelly has made several requests to be released on bail, which have been denied.
The coronavirus pandemic also took its toll on scheduling the trial, as has Kelly’s shaking up his legal team, leading to a change in date.
R. Kelly has been accused of running a criminal enterprise that saw young women and girls be recruited for sexual activity with the star.
(Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP, File)
What will be discussed?
The charges in New York that Kelly is facing involve six women and girls whose names have not yet been made public. If they chose to testify, their accounts of encounters with Kelly will likely be shared.
Also to be discussed are allegations that Kelly schemed with others to obtain fake identification for a 15-year-old “Jane Doe” widely believed to be r&b star Aaliyah, who he married just a day after the ID was issued.
Additionally, prosecutors have received permission to discuss unnamed crimes allegedly committed by Kelly, which they say will help demonstrate a pattern of criminal behavior by Kelly.
The crimes include alleged sex crimes against two underage boys.
One of the boys was 17 when he met Kelly, who allegedly promised to mentor his music aspirations. Additionally, an investigation has claimed that Kelly had a sexual relationship with a second boy he met as a teen, later allegedly paying the teen to have sex with women while filming the encounters.
How much time is he facing?
It has not been clarified just how much time Kelly could spend behind bars, but according to FederalCharges.com, his racketeering charge could see him serve up to 25 years. FindLaw.com reports that a violation of the Mann Act could, depending on the case, result in 10 years behind bars.
According to Statista, defendants found guilty of sex trafficking of minors and nonminors in the U.S. in 2020 were sentenced to an average of about 11 and a half years.
Additional charges in Illinois – which he’ll face at a later date – could add decades more onto any sentence he may receive in New York.
Expected to take about a month, the trial could see R. Kelly sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
(Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
How long will it take?
The trial, which will not be televised, is expected to take about a month.
What comes next?
Regardless of the outcome, New York isn’t the end of the road for Kelly, as the singer faces federal charges in Chicago, which he’ll stand trial for at a later date.
Similar to the New York trial, he will face sex crimes charges in Chicago, including child pornography, sex with underage girls and interstate sex trafficking. The date of the trial is unclear.
Additionally, he faces sex crimes charges in state courts in Illinois and Minnesota – though federal cases generally take precedent, possibly putting a long pause on the state trials.
If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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