Pedophiles in the music industry: R'Kelly
R. Kelly Gets Wrist Slap, Trial Date
12/21/2007 7:06 AM, E! Online
For R. Kelly, the show will go on...for the most part.
A day after the R&B star avoided jail for missing hearing in his long-playing kiddie-porn case, Kelly on Friday managed to keep his bond intact and, in turn, his tour on track.
Over the objection of Chicago prosecutors, who called Kelly's unexcused absence earlier in this week another example of the Grammy winner's "brazenness," Cook County Criminal Court Judge Vincent Gaughan decided to allow the singer to remain free on $750,000 bond and thereby continue on his 45-city road show.
Kelly's next scheduled performance is Friday night in Chi-town.
Gaughan cited expectations of both workers and ticket holders for Kelly's nationwide trek as the impetus behind his decision. The judge said he did not want to put support staff out of work during the holiday season or disappoint fans with a flurry of last-minute concert cancellations.
On Thursday, Gaughan admonished Kelly for skipping a hearing the previous day, after the singer's bus convoy was halted in Utah due to bad weather and then bad driving.
Should Kelly's bond have been revoked, he would have been prohibited from traveling outside the state of Illinois.
As it is, Gaughan did make one exception to his Yuletide cheer-inspired ruling. The judge ordered the "Trapped in the Closet" auteur to scuttle his Jan. 13 stop in Hampton, Virginia, to ensure Kelly would be present in Chicago for a Jan. 14 hearing.
During Friday's brief proceedings, the judge also set a new trial date in the singer's case, penciling in a May 9 start.
And Gaughan again reprimanded Kelly for the circumstances surrounding his no-show.
The singer was en route to Chicago from a San Diego tour stop Tuesday morning, when the four-bus caravan was tagged for going over 100 mph and pulled over by the Utah Highway Patrol. Officers checked the tour bus logs and determined that drivers had not been taking mandatory rest stops. The vehicles were idled for several hours, and Kelly missed his court date.
In court Friday, Gaughan scolded Kelly for his speeding buses, saying it could have had disastrous consequences if one of the rigs hit another vehicle, particularly a schoolbus. As such, the judge said that no vehicle the singer rides in is allowed to go over the speed limit.
"I'd like to say sorry for this whole incident, and next time, I would get a plane," the admittedly aviation-phobic "I Believe I Can Fly" singer told the court.
Kelly's legal crew pointed out that in the six-year-old case, Wednesday's missed hearing was his first. The singer had previously shown for more than 100 required dates.
His legal mess stems from child-pornography charges filed in 2002, after a widely circulated videotape purportedly showed him having sex with a girl prosecutors say could have been as young as 13 or 14. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Kelly long ago pleaded not guilty to the charges.