A Brooklyn federal judge on Tuesday refused R. Kelly’s recent request to delay sentencing for his sex trafficking and racketeering convictions until after his upcoming Chicago trial on separate child porn charges.
Kelly’s attorneys argued that the singer’s May 4 sentencing in New York should be pushed back because statements made during those hearings “might be used against him” in the later trial, which is set to kick off in August in Illinois federal court.
But in a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly denied that request without written explanation. The judge did agree to push back the sentencing by six weeks, setting a new date of June 16, but avoided the months-long delay sought by Kelly’s team.
The order came a day after prosecutors “strenuously” objected to such a delay, arguing that Kelly’s victims had already “waited years” to see justice. Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Kelly was convicted in September in New York federal court on nine counts related to accusations that the singer had orchestrated a long-running scheme to recruit and abuse women and underage girls. Whenever it’s meted out, Kelly is facing a potential lifetime prison sentence for those convictions.
The upcoming second trial, currently scheduled to start August 1 in Chicago federal court, focuses on separate charges that Kelly obtained child pornography and obstructed justice.
In a motion last week, Kelly’s attorneys asked to push back the New York sentencing until after that second trial. They said the singer might be able to mitigate the severity of his upcoming prison sentence by offering certain testimony, but that he risked incriminating himself by doing so.
The government fired back on Monday, saying it would “strenuously oppose” that request and urging the judge to stick to the original sentencing date.
“His victims have waited years to see the defendant held to account and sentenced for his crimes,” prosecutors wrote Monday. “Moreover … many victims have cleared their schedules to travel from other states to New York to attend and be heard at the May 4, 2022 sentencing hearing.”
Beyond the second trial in Chicago and the impending sentencing in New York, Kelly’s attorneys are also gearing up to spend months or years challenging his convictions. They are currently asking Judge Donnelly to overturn them; if that’s denied, they’ll file an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then potentially the U.S. Supreme Court.