The singer had been scheduled to go on trial April 7 on racketeering charges — which allege he ran a criminal enterprise designed to recruit women for sexual misconduct — but at a status hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly stated that holding such a trial is “not realistic at all,” considering the pandemic. She rescheduled the date for Aug. 9, a month before Kelly is scheduled to go on trial in Chicago, where he is charged with multiple sexual abuse counts.
Kelly is being held at the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center, and is awaiting trial on numerous charges — including sexual misconduct charges and racketeering — in three states. Many of the charges involve women who were minors at the time.
In recent months, three other Kelly associates were charged with using threats, intimidation and bribes in an attempt to influence the testimony of the singer’s alleged victims; his former manager Donnell Russell was arrested in August for allegedly phoning in a gun threat to a December 2018 screening of the “Surviving R. Kelly” Lifetime documentary that played a large role in drumming up public opinion that culminated in the singer’s arrest.
The singer has also seen several bids for release denied, despite coronavirus outbreaks at the Chicago jail where he is being held.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, noting that Kelly remains a flight risk and could seek to coerce or intimidate witnesses, wrote, “The risks associated with the defendant’s release have not changed.”