Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
2 minute read
5 Aug 2021
10:44 am

D-Day for R. Kelly as sex-crimes trial gets underway

Kaunda Selisho

R. Kelly is accused of racketeering, sexual abuse and bribery after decades of allegedly recruiting women and underage girls for sex.

R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on 17 September 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Picture: AFP Pool via Getty Images

R&B singer and producer R. Kelly is just days away from his long-awaited sex-crimes trial, according to SABC News.

His trial is scheduled to begin on Monday in a federal court in Brooklyn and will be preceded by jury selection.

The singer (real name Robert Kelly) is accused of racketeering, sexual abuse and bribery. Reuters reported that Kelly appeared in a New York City courtroom on Tuesday for a hearing. 

Prosecutors told the court how the 54 year old ran a criminal scheme in which his associates recruited women to have sex with him and provided a steady stream of underage girls who were assaulted.

Prosecutors further alleged that Kelly bribed an Illinois official in 1994 to get false identification for late singer Aaliyah, who was 15 years old at the time. It is said that they needed the identification (with a false age) so that Kelly could marry the teenager.

ALSO READ: Is R Kelly out of jail? No, but SA Twitter user causes a global ruckus:

According to Reuters, Kelly faces separate criminal charges in Illinois and Minnesota. Thus far, the singer has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges in cases filed in the three US states, and has been jailed without bail for nearly two years.

The allegations levelled against Kelly date back more than two decades and were featured in a 2019 documentary, titled Surviving R. Kelly.

It is a documentary series that features a number of young women emerging from the shadows and uniting their voices against Kelly who, for years, has been accused of abuse, paedophilia and predatory behaviour toward women.

The documentary features more than 50 interviews with people such as civil-rights activist Tarana Burke, musicians John Legend and Sparkle, and talk show host Wendy Williams – who were privy to the whispers about his misconduct.

Kelly’s family members also appear in Surviving R. Kelly to shed light on the singer’s controversial past.