R. Kelly's federal trial for racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, forced labor and enticement is set to begin Aug. 9 in a Brooklyn courtroom.
Kelly, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, appeared telephonically along with his legal team for a status hearing Thursday (April 15) where U.S. Judge Ann M. Donnelly firmly set his trial date. Both Kelly attorneys and the prosecution told Donnelly that they were ready to proceed on that date. Questionnaires to potential jurors will begin to be sent out on July 26.
Michael Leonard, an attorney on the singer's legal team, tells Billboard that Kelly is looking forward to the upcoming trial. "He's excited about the possibility of his case to be heard in a fulsome way where witness testimony can be tested and put in the proper context," he says. When asked how his client is doing in custody, Leonard said that this has been a difficult time for anyone, not just Kelly, to be in federal custody because of the extreme restrictions due to COVID-19.