How long has R. Kelly been in jail? Singer held without bail since 2019
NEW YORK (WLS) -- Chicago singer R. Kelly's lawyers asked to delay filing post-trial motions because the former R&B star was diagnosed with COVID.
Attorney Jennifer Bonjean asked U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly Tuesday for a two-week extension, until Feb. 17 to file Kelly's post-trial motions.
She said the MDC in Brooklyn, where Kelly is being held until his sentencing in May, indefinitely suspended all jail visits nearly a month ago, and Kelly's COVID-19 diagnosis interfered with his ability to speak with counsel by telephone.
Bonjean said it's important that Kelly has input in his post-trial defense.
She also said Kelly decided to part ways with his trial team.
Federal prosecutors in New York last September invoked what's known as the "RICO Act" to take down Kelly, who for decades seemed untouchable by law enforcement despite women telling horrid stories of sex abuse.
Using a law intended to crack down on organized crime, Kelly is now looking at decades in prison.
Chicago attorney Steve Greenberg said the 20 years or more that the government is likely to request will be tantamount to a life sentence for the 54-year-old.
A jury of seven men and five women found Kelly guilty of racketeering on their second day of deliberations.
The charges were based on an argument that the entourage of managers and aides who helped the singer meet girls - and keep them obedient and quiet - amounted to a criminal enterprise.
Several accusers testified in lurid detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.
For years, the public and news media seemed to be more amused than horrified by allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors, starting with Kelly's illegal marriage to the R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15.
His records and concert tickets kept selling. Other artists continued to record his songs, even after he was arrested in 2002 and accused of making a recording of himself sexually abusing and urinating on a 14-year-old girl.
Widespread public condemnation didn't come until a widely watched docuseries "Surviving R. Kelly" helped make his case a signifier of the #MeToo era, and gave voice to alleged victims who wondered if their stories were previously ignored because they were Black women.
At the trial, several of Kelly's accusers testified without using their real names to protect their privacy and prevent possible harassment by the singer's fans. Jurors were shown homemade videos of Kelly engaging in sex acts that prosecutors said were not consensual.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez argued that Kelly was a serial abuser who "maintained control over these victims using every trick in the predator handbook."
The defense labeled the accusers "groupies" and "stalkers."
Defense attorney Deveraux Cannick questioned why the alleged victims stayed in relationships with Kelly if they thought they were being exploited.
"You made a choice," Cannick told one woman who testified, adding, "You participated of your own will."
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been jailed without bail since 2019. The trial was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and Kelly's last-minute shakeup of his legal team.
When it finally started on Aug. 18, prosecutors painted the 54-year-old singer as a pampered man-child and control freak. His accusers said they were under orders to call him "Daddy," expected to jump and kiss him anytime he walked into a room, and to cheer only for him when he played pickup basketball games in which they said he was a ball hog.
The accusers alleged that they also were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments such as violent spankings if they broke what one referred to as "Rob's rules." Some said they believed the videotapes he shot of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.
Among the other more troubling tableaus: Kelly keeping a gun by his side while he berated one of his accusers as a prelude to forcing her to give him oral sex in a Los Angeles music studio; Kelly giving several alleged victims herpes without disclosing he had an STD; Kelly coercing a teen boy to join him for sex with a naked girl who emerged from underneath a boxing ring in his garage; and Kelly shooting a shaming video of one alleged victim showing her smearing feces on her face as punishment for breaking his rules.
The New York case is only part of the legal peril facing the singer. He also has pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
A Chicago trial date for singer R. Kelly has been set for August in a federal case that includes child pornography, obstruction of justice and sexual abuse charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.