The fate of the four Cook County sex-abuse indictments against imprisoned R&B star R. Kelly could be learned Monday after months of inaction in court has led to rumors that the cases will be dropped.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is expected to provide an update on the status of the cases at a news conference at 3:30 p.m. at the Cook County Administration Building, the same place where she announced the charges against Kelly nearly four years ago.
Rumors have been swirling for weeks that the cases were going to be dropped, particularly after a series of status hearings before Associate Judge Lawrence Flood. came and went with no progress toward trial.
Kelly’s cases are scheduled for another status hearing before Flood on Tuesday morning at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
A spokeswoman for Foxx could not provide further details Monday morning, and Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, had no immediate comment.
Kelly, 56, remains in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in the Loop.
The county cases, all of which accused Kelly of sexual abuse or assault, were filed against the singer in February 2019, shortly after the airing of the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” that resurrected interest in sexual misconduct allegations against Kelly going back decades.
But the once-explosive indictments announced by Foxx soon took a back seat to a pair of federal investigations by U.S. Attorney’s offices in New York and Chicago that led to separate indictments announced in July 2019.
Kelly was convicted in New York of racketeering conspiracy and sentenced in June to a whopping 30 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23 at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago on convictions last September related to child pornography and sexual misconduct with minors.
The federal convictions have forced Cook County prosecutors into a tough calculation. If they bring him to trial and win, it would have little concrete effect on Kelly, who is expected to spend decades in federal custody no matter what they do. If they lost, it would prove highly embarrassing for the office that announced charges earliest and with great gusto.
Either route would have cost significant time and resources, and potentially require victims to relive traumatic moments on a very public witness stand.
One of the Cook County cases centered on Jerhonda Pace, who was a key witness against Kelly at his New York federal trial last year. Another focused on videos of Kelly abusing his then-teenage goddaughter, which jurors in Kelly’s Chicago federal trial viewed over the summer. Kelly’s defense had previously indicated it would attempt to have a judge throw out those cases on the grounds they were similar to the conduct for which he was convicted federally.
A third Cook County case centered on a woman identified as H.W., who accused Kelly of having sexual contact with her when she was just 16. A fourth indictment involved an adult accuser, L.C., who said Kelly sexually abused her in 2003 when she came to braid his hair.