R. Kelly’s trial has been delayed for a fourth time.
The 47-year-old singer – who is waiting to stand trial on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering in Brooklyn, New York – will now have his trial seen on August 9 after being pushed back from April due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Ann Donnelly said: “We are scheduled for an April trial date but I suspect it’s not going to come as a surprise that that is not a date that is going to work given the current conditions.”
The judge gave many reasons why the trial had to be delayed, including that the jurors would have to travel on public transport to get to the court as well as Kelly having to be moved to a prison in Brooklyn, which has a COVID outbreak.
READ: Jailbird R Kelly is tired of solitary and would rather be put together with criminals who want to kill him
It was previously ruled the jurors in the the New York trial will be anonymous.
US District Judge Ann Donnelly wrote in her ruling: “The government has established that empaneling an anonymous and partially sequestered jury is warranted.”
The judge declared that marshals will escort jurors in and out of the Brooklyn federal courthouse each day and sequester them during all breaks to protect them from outside influence, although they will still be able to go home at the end of the day.
Donnelly made her decision based on the allegations in Kelly’s indictment that accuse the shamed singer of heading up a criminal enterprise for 24 years designed “to promote the defendant’s music, to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with the defendant and to produce child pornography”.
The decision was also influenced by Kelly’s handling of his Chicago case, where he allegedly silenced witnesses through bribes, blackmail and threats.
Donnelly is also said to be worried about the singer’s public profile, and the potential for social media to become “a tool for the harassment and intimidation of the jurors should their identities be made public”.
The ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ singer has made several bids to be released from jail pending trial, citing concerns about Coronavirus spreading in the facility where he is currently being held, amongst other reasons, but has had them all rejected.
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