R.Kelly will be going on trial for sex trafficking and racketeering charges this upcoming April, after his intended July 2020 trial date was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jurors for the case will be selected in mid-March, and according to an order yesterday by District Judge Ann Donnelly, the trial will begin by April 7.
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Earlier this month, Donnelly approved the prosecutors’ motion for an anonymous jury, stating, “Empaneling an anonymous jury is appropriate given the seriousness of the charges, the defendant’s history of obstructing the judicial process, the potential for juror intimidation and the intensity of media attention given to this case.”
This added measure comes in light of R.Kelly’s history of attempting to influence juries and undermining witnesses. Last year, witnesses in his 2008 child pornography case came forward to testify that Kelly had attempted to intimidate and pay them off, in order to prevent them from taking the stand. The jury did not believe witnesses during the trial, and Kelly ended up being acquitted of all charges.
Last September, Kelly was assaulted in jail by a fellow inmate, who stabbed him with a pen and kicked him several times before guards intervened.