Mith jury selection in Chicago, Illinois, the next criminal trial against the fallen American hip-hop star began on Monday R. Kelly began. Six weeks after being sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal court in New York, the singer is also facing charges of sexual assault, child pornography and obstruction of justice in his home state.
Federal prosecutors accuse R. Kelly, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, of abusing an underage girl more than 20 years ago and filming the sexual assault. At the subsequent trial in 2008, the fifty-five-year-old allegedly paid the alleged victim, his parents and witnesses hush money to keep them from testifying. The jury of a state court Illinois had acquitted the Grammy award winner at the time.
Old allegations in a new light
The allegations against the singer were fueled again in early 2019 by the six-part documentary “Surviving R. Kelly”. Lisa Van Allen was among the alleged victims who told filmmaker Dream Hampton about the abuse, humiliation and beatings at the time. The dancer recalled a sexual encounter with R. Kelly and a 14-year-old, which the musician captured on a 27-minute video.
The fact that a jury acquitted R. Kelly at the time was attributed by many to his popularity. With titles like “I Wish” and “I Believe I Can Fly”, the singer was one of the big earners in the American music industry. As a former council resident, Ida B. Wells in Chicago notorious South Side, he had also become a role model for many young, poor African Americans.
At least four witnesses allegedly sexually abused by R. Kelly when they were minors are expected to appear at the Everett M. Dirksen US Courthouse in the coming weeks. The then fourteen-year-old, who can be seen in the video, also announced a statement. “This time witness after witness will testify. They will probably say things that will make your hair stand on end,” lawyer Gil Soffer told ABC. Even after the verdict in Chicago, which is expected in mid-September, the case continues. R. Kelly faces another sexual abuse criminal case in Illinois, as well as in Minnesota.