Just one month ago, it looked like the wait was over — but a Chicago judge decided on Tuesday that the child-pornography criminal case against R. Kelly, which has been pending for five years, will not be going to trial on September 17 after all.
Judge Vincent Gaughan had previously scheduled the trial date at a hearing on August 1 (see R. Kelly Child-Pornography Case Finally Going To Trial"), but changed his mind at a status hearing Tuesday, after taking into consideration that the lead prosecutor, Shauna Boliker, who recently gave birth, would not be able to proceed per her doctor's orders. Boliker, the chief of Illinois' Cook County Sex Crimes Division, had previously gone right back to work after the births of her two other children.
Per a gag order, neither side was permitted to comment on this new delay, the latest in a long series of postponements.
The pre-trial phase alone has lasted longer than other celebrity trials, or even other child-pornography trials, which usually begin with a year or two of charges being filed. Many of the delays have been medical in nature, such as when Kelly needed emergency surgery for a burst appendix in February, and when Judge Gaughan fell off a ladder, causing multiple fractures, last summer.
Kelly was charged with 21 counts of child pornography in 2002 (seven of which were later dropped) for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a girl prosecutors said was 14 years old at the time; he pleaded not guilty (see "R. Kelly: When the Gavel Drops").
A new date for the trial has yet to be determined, although it may be announced at the next status hearing in the case, which is set for Monday.
If Kelly is convicted of the charges, he faces a prison term of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $100,000.
[This story was originally published at 12:50 pm E.T. on 9.04.2007]
For full coverage of the R. Kelly case, see The R. Kelly Reports.