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R. Kelly’s Chicago Trial Date Set Following Conviction In Brooklyn Court

R. Kelly is headed to trial Aug. 1 on a second set of criminal charges related to child pornography, a Chicago federal judge decided at a Wednesday (Oct. 20) court hearing, during which an attorney also disclosed that the disgraced singer was briefly under suicide watch following last month’s sex trafficking conviction.

In a hearing aimed at scheduling a trial date on separate federal charges related to child pornography, Kelly attorney Steve Greenberg said that “after he was found guilty he was placed under suicide watch,” but that he has since been taken out of that status.

Later in the same hearing, U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber scheduled an Aug. 1 start date for the Chicago new trial, which will focus on charges brought by Illinois federal prosecutors that Kelly obtained child pornography and obstructed justice.

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Kelly, 54, already faces up to life in prison after a Brooklyn federal jury convicted him last month on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering. Sentencing in that case is set for May 4, and Kelly could launch an appeal after that.

The outcome of those proceedings could still affect when the Chicago trial is carried out, or whether Kelly strikes a broader plea agreement with prosecutors to avoid the trial entirely. But at Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors and defense attorneys indicated that they intended to bring the Chicago case to trial in August.

Beyond setting a trial date, Wednesday’s hearing cleared up lingering uncertainty over which attorneys would be representing Kelly in the Chicago case. Though Chicago-based attorneys Greenberg and Michael Leonard have represented Kelly since 2018, they exited the New York case just months before trial amid an acrimonious split among the singer’s legal team.

But Greenberg represented Kelly at Wednesday’s hearing, and said he “believed” that Kelly had confirmed earlier that day that the pair would represent him in next year’s Chicago trial. Kelly himself was present on the remote proceeding, but repeatedly was unable to unmute himself to answer when asked by the judge to confirm the status of his legal team.

Greenberg also said that Kelly was “looking to revamp his team” in Brooklyn, presumably to represent the singer in the sentencing and appellate stages of the case.

The new trial is tentatively expected to run three to four weeks, according to statements by both prosecutors and defense attorneys present at Wednesday’s hearing.