Courtroom Drama Heats Up In R. Kelly’s Chicago Trial

Singer stood quietly before judge as he, his attorney were reprimanded.

CHICAGO — What role R. Kelly’s recent arrest in Florida will play in his Chicago case remains to be determined, but that very question created a hiccup in the proceedings of the singer’s preliminary hearing on Friday the Cook County Criminal Courthouse.

Though the prosecution was scheduled to complete the discovery process this week, that matter has been delayed for another month, much to the consternation of the judge slated to oversee Kelly’s child pornography trial.

When prosecutors handed over a packet of photographs, saying that a new matter had come to light since Kelly’s last motions hearing in December, and then requested more time for expert analysis, Judge Vincent Gaughan scolded them for not being ready (see “R. Kelly Arrested On Child Porn Charges Again” ).

“I’m not going to let this go on,” Gaughan said. “If your experts aren’t done [by the next court date], I expect them to be in this courtroom to explain why.”

Gaughan admonished defense attorney Edward Genson as well. Whenever Gaughan grants permission for Kelly to leave the jurisdiction, as he had for the singer’s Powerhouse concert in New Jersey and his “Ignition” video shoot in Florida, Kelly is required to call a probation officer daily to check in. However, the prosecution complained Kelly had failed to do so on four of the days during his court-consented trip, constituting a violation of the terms of his bond.

Genson replied that Kelly failed to make two of those calls on his advice, due to a misunderstanding of procedure, and one call because he was in jail in Florida. He provided no explanation for the failure to make the fourth call. Gaughan ultimately ruled that Kelly had violated his bond and scolded the singer for doing so, but not before also scolding his attorney for talking over him.

“You better listen to me,” Gaughan said.

“I’ve learned that,” Genson interjected.

“You can’t learn that if we’re both talking at the same time,” Gaughan countered testily.

Though Gaughan dressed down both Kelly and his attorney for the bond violation, he imposed no sanctions. Kelly, who stood in front of the judge with his hands behind his back, did not speak.

Kelly’s next court date is March 7. His new album, Chocolate Factory, is due February 18.

For full coverage of the R. Kelly sex tape scandal, see The R. Kelly Reports.