A federal judge has refused to delay R. Kelly’s sentencing on racketeering and other charges in New York until after his upcoming Chicago trial, despite the singer’s “grave concerns” that not doing so could “interfere with (his) Fifth Amendment guarantees.”
In a five-page ruling published Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly denied a request to delay the June hearing after Kelly’s legal team said he may be forced to choose between presenting mitigation at sentencing and preserving his Fifth Amendment rights before his next trial in August.
Donnelly — who had already previously ruled against a similar request from the defense — found that argument “not persuasive.”
“In this case, the jury returned its verdict on September 27, 2021. The practical effect of granting the defendant’s request would mean that sentencing would take place about a year after the jury’s verdict,” she wrote. “The defendant’s concerns do not justify the significant delay in sentencing that his request entails.”
A New York jury found Kelly guilty on nine counts, including racketeering, on its second day of deliberations last year. The following month, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ordered Kelly to stand trial in Chicago on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in August 2022.
Following his conviction, Kelly faces the possibility of decades in prison for crimes including violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex trafficking law that prohibits taking anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
Federal prosecutors have opposed any delay in sentencing, arguing that Kelly is not being “compelled to say anything” at his sentencing, instead “he is (potentially) choosing to do so.”
“As proven at trial, the defendant engaged in wide-ranging and extensive criminal conduct, involving multiple victims, with impunity for decades,” prosecutors said earlier this month. “His victims have waited years to see the defendant held to account and sentenced for his crimes.”
Kelly, who was born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is also facing four separate indictments alleging sexual abuse in state court in Chicago and a child prostitution charge in Minnesota. He continues to be held at a federal lockup in Brooklyn.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.