R. Kelly’s Cook County cases continue to move at a snail’s pace, despite a judge’s past urging to make progress now that the singer’s two federal trials have concluded.
Kelly’s defense this week filed additional motions saying they could not proceed until prosecutors reveal more specific information about their allegations against Kelly. And prosecutors just turned over “significant” potential evidence to the defense last week, one motion alleges.
The disgraced R&B superstar was supposed to attend county court Wednesday for an afternoon hearing, at which attorneys were slated to argue on the defense’s request to dismiss some of his charges.
Instead, the hearing was quietly rescheduled for Wednesday morning, no arguments were made, and Kelly stayed in federal lockup. It has been almost a year since Kelly’s attorneys first filed the request that was supposed to be discussed this week.
The hearing Wednesday lasted about one minute. Prosecutors said they had received the defense motions and wanted more time to respond. Kelly’s next court date was scheduled for the end of the month.
When Associate Judge Lawrence Flood asked Kelly attorney Jennifer Bonjean whether she wanted the singer present, Bonjean said no, since “he does not want to be here.”
The new court filings from Bonjean allege that prosecutors have not given the defense enough information about the charges related to “J.P” — known to be Jerhonda Pace — who accuses Kelly of having sexual contact with her when she was underage. Pace was a central witness in Kelly’s New York federal trial.
It is unclear, the defense says, how many separate sexual encounters county prosecutors allege Kelly had with the teenage Pace, and they do not have enough information about the specific dates and locations of the alleged acts.
“Even if the Complainant cannot recall precise dates during the relevant time period, she should be able to identify a location of the occurrence or occurrences,” one motion states.
The defense also asked Flood to make prosecutors reveal whether they intend to introduce “prior bad acts” evidence against Kelly, that is, accusations of past behavior that are not part of the formal charges.
It has been about a year since another of Kelly’s attorneys, Steve Greenberg, filed a formal request to throw out the county case related to Pace. Greenberg said in court months ago that he intends to file a similar request on one of the other cases, presumably the indictment centering on some of the same video footage at issue in the Chicago federal case.
Flood in recent months has repeatedly said from the bench he wants to see progress in those cases, but little has happened, with no apparent consequences for the attorneys involved.
The four separate Cook County indictments allege Kelly sexually abused or assaulted four people, three of whom were underage girls at the time.
All those cases have largely stagnated since federal prosecutors in two states filed double-whammy indictments against the singer in the summer of 2019. The county cases were quickly overshadowed, and Kelly has since been convicted of federal sex crime-related charges in both Chicago and New York.
Kelly was convicted in Chicago federal court in September on charges including child pornography related to his years of sexual abuse of his underage goddaughter and other girls. He was acquitted, however, of the explosive allegations that he rigged his initial Cook County trial in the 2000s.
His sentencing in Chicago federal court is scheduled for next month.
Kelly has already been sentenced to 30 years after a jury in New York found him guilty of racketeering conspiracy charges alleging his musical career doubled as a criminal enterprise aimed at satisfying his predatory sexual desires.