Opening statements in the first of two federal trials against Robert Sylvester Kelly, American singer, songwriter, and record producer, began on Wednesday 8/18/21. Kelly faces 22 federal charges, including racketeering, human trafficking, child pornography, sexual abuse, and bribery. A conviction of all counts could see the Pied Piper in prison for decades.
His first accusation of having sex with an underage girl was in 1991. In 1994, he wed his former protégée Aaliyah, when she was 15 and he was 27. In 1998, he settled a lawsuit with Tiffany Hawkins for $250,000. She claimed Kelly had induced her to have group sex with other teenage girls when she was 15 years old. In 2002, a video surfaced allegedly showing Kelly engaging in sex with, and urinating on, an underage girl.
The only time Kelly faced criminal charges, was for child pornography in 2008, he was ultimately acquitted. R Kelly currently faces charges that he was the ringleader in a two-decade scheme where women and underage girls were recruited for sex. A prosecutor called the R&B superstar a "predator." Kelly has pleaded not guilty and has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
R Kelly has been held in custody since July 2019 following his arrest by federal investigators in Chicago on other charges. The COVID pandemic delaying the start of the New York trial. The jurors will remain anonymous and partially sequestered throughout the trial. It will be followed by a second federal trial in Illinois on separate charges of child pornography and obstruction.
Gerald Griggs, Atlanta-based attorney who is representing several accusers and their families said, "They're understandably nervous but they've been focused on getting justice for a long time so they're ready. We're confident in the evidence and we're confident in the jury."
Defense attorney, Thomas Farinella said, "At this point, the public has only heard one side of the story in this case and that is about to change in the coming weeks. We look forward to the truth and the facts coming to light as the defense will continue to vigorously defend Mr. Kelly."
During the last pre-trial hearing, the disgraced singer had admitted to having had a sexual relationship with the late singer Aaliyah when she was underage.