Singer R. Kelly appeared Wednesday in a Chicago court, where a judge said he would like to set a trial date for early next year and prosecutors turned over a DVD allegedly showing pornographic images involving a minor.
Kelly pleaded not guilty earlier this month to 11 new charges in his sexual assault and sexual abuse case, according to his attorney, Steve Greenberg.
During the brief hearing Wednesday, state prosecutors turned over the DVDs.
“We’ll see what it shows, we’ll make our assessment on it,” Greenberg told reporters after the hearing.
Kelly, wearing a dark suit and flanked by his legal team, did not address the court or the media after the hearing.
Judge Lawrence Flood placed a protective order on the DVDs and warned both parties against leaking them.
“If there’s any violation of this protective order, I’m going to impose sanctions, severe sanctions,” he said. “I just want everybody on notice with that. Plus, there could be criminal implications to violation of this protective order.”
Kelly remains free on bonds totaling $1 million that were set in February. The next hearing in his case is scheduled for August 15.
After the hearing, Kelly’s spokesman Darrell Johnson said the singer looked forward to the start of the trial.
“I think that’s great … The faster the better,” Johnson said of an early 2020 trial, adding that Kelly is “living on royalties right now.”
Greenberg, outside court, enumerated what he said were a number of problems with the case, including improperly collected and tested scientific evidence and issues with the statute of limitations.
Kelly initially was charged in February with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse — a Class 2 felony — involving four alleged victims, including three who prosecutors say were underage girls. The charges, to which he pleaded not guilty, cover allegations from 1998 to 2010.
In late May, a grand jury indicted him with 11 more charges pertaining to one of those four accusers. Those charges included not only aggravated criminal sexual abuse but also more serious charges: aggravated criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony; and criminal sexual assault, a Class 1 felony.
A person convicted of Class X felonies generally can be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison, according to Illinois law. Class 1 and 2 felonies generally carry lower maximum penalties.
Kelly, 52, has vehemently denied any allegations of sexual misconduct.
The singer also was released on bail in March in a case in which authorities have said he failed to pay his ex-wife child support of $161,000.
Kelly has faced accusations of abuse, manipulation and inappropriate encounters with girls and young women for more than two decades.
In a March interview with CBS, he said: “I’m very tired of all of the lies. I’ve been hearing things and seeing things on all of the blogs and I’m just tired.”