It's been over a year since R Kelly was taken into custody in Chicago, and the once high-flying singer's trial is finally approaching.
After several delays throughout the year, Kelly is scheduled to face a jury in the US District Court of Chicago on October 13.
He faces a litany of state and federal charges across multiple jurisdictions, including charges in New York for violations of the Mann Act, which bars sex trafficking across state lines, and heading a racketeering scheme designed to supply him with girls.
He also faces federal charges in Illinois for child pornography and obstruction of justice, as well as state charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse tied to allegations that the singer sexually abused multiple women, some of whom were allegedly minors at the time. The 53-year-old has consistently denied the claims.
Kelly, who faces anywhere from 10 years to life in prison if convicted of the federal charges, has been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago since last July.
His attorneys, however, have been trying for months to earn him pre-trial release. Earlier this year, the singer was denied bail after making a coronavirus-based "emergency" request for home confinement. Prosecutors argued at the time that Kelly is a flight risk and a danger to the community, pointing out that he has a history of tampering with witnesses and jurors.
Most recently, Kelly's attorneys asked for his release from federal custody in early September, arguing that the singer hasn't been able to prepare for his impending trial. They noted that because their client can't read or write, he can't review legal documents in his case and he can't effectively communicate with his lawyers without in-person meetings, which have been cut off ever since prisons went into lockdown due to Covid-19 concerns.
Kelly's team ramped up their attempts at a pre-trial release after the singer was reportedly assaulted by a fellow inmate last month. One of Kelly's attorneys, Nicole Blank Becker, told the Chicago Sun-Times that "fear and terror have left [Kelly] petrified and paranoid" after another inmate, Jeremiah Shane Farmer, barged into Kelly's unlocked cell on August 26 and began kicking his face.
Though Kelly's attacker has since been moved to a different prison, Ms Becker claimed that her client is "scared for his life" and is suffering from insomnia. The problem, she added, is only exasperated by mandatory prisoner lockdowns that happen every time Kelly's fans protest for his release outside of the correctional facility.
Although sexual misconduct allegations — many of which center around his alleged predatory pursuit of teenage girls — have plagued Kelly's career for more than two decades, he faced new scrutiny after several women spoke out against him in the Lifetime documentary Surviving R Kelly. After the doc aired last year, prosecutors in New York, Illinois, and Minnesota filed criminal charges against the embattled singer. Kelly was subsequently dropped by his label RCA Records, a division of Sony Music.