Ahead of R. Kelly’s sentencing hearing next week on federal child pornography charges, the Chicago judge overseeing the case denied a bid by the singer’s lawyers for a new trial Thursday.
In Sept. 2022, Kelly was found guilty on six of the 13 counts, including creating child pornography and enticing minors into illegal sexual activity. Kelly’s lawyers subsequently filed motions seeking either an overturn of the conviction or a new trial on the Chicago federal charges.
However, Judge Harry D. Leinenweber ruled against Kelly on Thursday, saying prosecutors provided “enough evidence to sustain a guilty verdict on all six counts Kelly was convicted of,” Billboard reports.
Much of the defense’s appeal centered around the key witness “Jane,” who testified that Kelly filmed their sexual encounters when she was just 14 years old; the videotapes were the focus of Kelly’s child pornography trial for state charges in 2008. Kelly’s lawyers argued that the “Jane” testimony was “not truthful” because she wasn’t forthright about seeking financial restitution from Kelly over the sexual abuse.
However, Leinenweber countered in his written denial (via the Chicago Sun-Times), “Simply because Jane and her attorney considered the possibility of restitution does not mean she lied during her testimony. Jane’s testimony was that she was undecided. Her testimony was not that she was not intending to pursue restitution.”
Kelly’s lawyers can still fight the conviction by filing a motion with a federal appeals court, which would similarly be an uphill battle.
Kelly, already serving 30 years in prison after being found guilty of all counts in his federal racketeering trial in New York, faces mandatory minimums of five years to maximums of up to 20 years for each count, which could extend his total prison sentence beyond the New York punishment. Kelly is scheduled for sentencing on Thursday, Feb. 23.
The disgraced singer did receive a rare piece of good news last month when Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced that her office was dropping the pending sexual assault and abuse cases against him following the federal convictions in New York and Chicago. “Justice has been served,” Foxx said.
From Rolling Stone US