After years of incessant delays, R. Kelly's child-pornography case will finally commence May 9. The trial had previously been scheduled for September 17 but was postponed early that month because the lead prosecutor had recently given birth.
Kelly also avoided having his bond revoked Friday morning. Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan had threatened to do so after chiding the singer for missing a hearing on Wednesday after his tour bus was stopped in Utah for a speeding infraction. An arrest warrant had been issued for the R&B singer, who avoided going to jail when he showed for a 9 a.m. court date on Thursday, but Gaughan threatened to revoke the bond anyway.
Also on Friday, Gaughan considered forcing Kelly to call off his U.S. tour but didn't follow through with the punishment. Gaughan said he decided on leniency because of the "unintended consequences" of canceling such an event, including disappointing fans and a loss of income for venue workers.
The judge did, however, order him to cancel a January 13 concert in Hampton, Virginia, to ensure Kelly doesn't miss his next court appearance on January 14, the paper reports. He performed Friday night in Chicago.
In addition, Gaughan mandated that any vehicles transporting Kelly were not to break any speeding laws, and that if the singer couldn't return to Chicago in time for his next court appearance, that he must return by aircraft. The Chicago Tribune quoted Kelly as saying, "I'm sorry for this whole incident, and the next time I would be on a plane if it came down to it."
The Kelly case has dragged on for five years without a trial and originated with 14 counts of child pornography filed against him in 2002 for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with an allegedly underage girl. Kelly, 40, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
[This story was originally published at 1:26 p.m. ET on 12.21.2007]
For full coverage of the R. Kelly case, see The R. Kelly Reports.