Illinois Judge Sets R. Kelly Trial Date

Jem Aswad

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A Cook County, Ill., judge today set a Sept. 14 trial date for R. Kelly, who is charged in four sexual abuse cases in the area, according to the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. Prosectors did not immediately reveal which of the four indictments they plan to pursue first. Kelly, who remains in federal custody, did not attend the hearing.

Earlier this year, county prosecutors became the first jurisdiction to file charges against the singer, who is accused of sexually abusing the women, three of whom were underaged at the time the alleged attacks took place. Similar charges followed in New York and Minnesota.

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Kelly is scheduled to go on trial in April on the federal charges in Chicago, and the following month in New York.

Attorney Jeffrey Steinback, who has a history of negotiating guilty pleas, last month began representing Kelly in his Chicago federal case, which according to the the Tribune raises speculation that Kelly might try to work out a deal with prosecutors on all the pending charges. Kelly’s primary attorney, Steven Greenberg, denied that such negotiations were in the works.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Lawrence Flood said he expects prosecutors to announce at the next status hearing, which is scheduled for January, which case they will proceed on first.

He dismissed Greenberg’s claims that it was too early to set a trial date. “I’m giving you more than a year to prepare for trial,” he said.

If convicted in all three jurisdictions, he Kelly faces spending the rest of his life in prison.

In July, Kelly was hit with a total of 18 counts of serious sexual misconduct and other charges in Chicago and New York, and on Aug. 5 he was n charged with two counts of prostitution with a person under 18, according to a press conference held in Minneapolis. While Greenberg called the Minnesota charges, which stem from an alleged 2001 incident, “absurd,” the singer remains behind bars in Chicago. He was denied bail on racketeering and sexual abuse charges at an arraignment hearing in Brooklyn Federal Court in August; he was ordered held without bond at a hearing last month in federal court in Chicago. The singer entered a not-guilty plea in both cases.

Kelly was charged with child pornography in 2002 after a videotape surfaced that purportedly showed him having sex with an underaged girl, however the girl in the video declined to testify and Kelly was acquitted in 2008.

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