A day after R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison following his racketeering conviction in New York, a federal judge has denied a request to throw out additional charges against the R&B singer ahead of his upcoming trial in Chicago.
In a 12-page ruling issued Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber refused a request from Kelly’s attorney to toss a majority of charges against the Chicago-born singer and denied another motion seeking to sever his trial from his co-defendants.
Kelly, 55, was initially charged in a 13-count indictment in 2019 that alleged he sexually abused five separate minors and recorded some of those acts on multiple videos. A superseding indictment filed the following year added a sixth alleged victim.
Two former employees of the singer’s music business, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, were also charged in this case along with Kelly for allegedly conspiring to conceal evidence to obstruct law enforcement during the investigation that preceded Kelly’s 2008 child porn trial in Cook County.
Kelly’s defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean had asked Leinenweber to dismiss 12 of those 13 counts, arguing they should be barred by the statute of limitations. Leinenweber disagreed, finding the charges were filed in time.
“This Court will not disturb well-settled law to create new statutory rights where none currently exist,” he wrote in his ruling.
Bonjean had also previously noted that Kelly and his co-defendants could present defense theories that are “antagonistic” toward one another at trial, and may require their cases to be severed.
Leinenweber rejected that argument, writing in his ruling that in “cases involving conflicting defenses, severance is not required, even if prejudice to a defendant is shown.”
“As presented, Kelly’s Motion reads as blame shifting,” he wrote. “Blame shifting among co-defendants does not mandate severance.”
A New York jury found Kelly guilty on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking during another federal trial last year. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced Kelly to 30 years in federal prison on those convictions Wednesday.
“Although sex was certainly a weapon that you used, this is not a case about sex. It’s a case about violence, cruelty and control,” Donnelly told Kelly, according to the Associated Press.
Kelly has maintained his innocence and did not speak during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.
His federal trial in Chicago is scheduled to begin Aug. 15.