Singer R. Kelly appears in NY court before sex abuse trial begins

·1-min read
Courtroom sketch of R. Kelly appearance

(Reuters) - Singer R. Kelly appeared in a New York City courtroom on Tuesday for a hearing, just days before his sex abuse trial is due to begin.

The singer is accused of racketeering, sexual abuse and bribery charges. His trial is scheduled to begin on Monday in federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors said the 54-year-old Kelly, known for such hits as "I Believe I Can Fly," ran a criminal scheme in which women and underage girls were recruited to have sexual activity with him.

They have alleged he bribed an Illinois official in 1994 to obtain false identification for singer Aaliyah, who was then 15 years old, so they could get married. Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001. Kelly faces separate criminal charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

The Grammy Award-winning singer has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges in cases filed in New York, Illinois and Minnesota, and has been held without bail for nearly two years.

The allegations against Kelly date back more than two decades and were featured in a 2019 documentary, "Surviving R. Kelly."

(Reporting by Angela Moore; Writing by Cynthia Osterman; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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