NATIONAL NEWS

Judge Allows Courtroom Cameras For Trial Of R. Kelly

Mar 15, 2019, 4:51 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:14 pm
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 22:  R&B singer R. Kelly arrives at the 1st District-Central polic...
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 22: R&B singer R. Kelly arrives at the 1st District-Central police station on February 22, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced today that Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of four victims, at least three between the ages of 13 and 17. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) — Cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during the trial and pretrial hearings in R. Kelly’s sexual abuse case, but the R&B singer’s accusers can’t be photographed or filmed without their consent, a judge ruled Friday.

The Grammy-winning singer didn’t attend the brief hearing in Cook County Circuit Court, but his attorney took a similar position to the lawyer for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett earlier this week and welcomed cameras in the courtroom.

“Mr. Kelly wants this to be an open and transparent process,” said attorney Steve Greenberg. “So far there have been rumors, there have been allegations … but with cameras in the courtroom, everyone will see what really happens.”

The judge in Smollet’s case, who also sits on the Cook County Circuit Court, hasn’t decided yet whether to allow cameras during the actor’s trial on charges accusing him of lying to the police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. With neither side objecting to them , though, it’s almost certain that the judge will allow them.

As for Kelly’s case , Associate Judge Lawrence Flood said cameras will be allowed going forward, beginning with the next hearing on March 22. He also said two of Kelly’s accusers have already indicated that they don’t want to be photographed, filmed, or have their voices recorded in court.

Kelly, 52, has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse pertaining to four women, including three who were minors at the time the abuse allegedly occurred. The abuse in question is alleged to have occurred over roughly a decade, starting in the late 1990s.

The Kelly and Smollett cases have helped turn the hulking courthouse on Chicago’s South Side into something of a legal television studio in recent weeks.

While there have been several cases filmed in Cook County since cameras were first allowed in courtrooms in late 2014, it wasn’t until last fall that they took center stage in one of the most significant trials in recent Chicago history.

For months, the cameras captured the case of a white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of a black teenager named Laquan McDonald. Viewers got to watch former Officer Jason Van Dyke explain what happened on the night he shot the teen 16 times. They also got to see the jury convict Van Dyke of second-degree murder and aggravated battery and the judge sentence him to six years and nine months in prison.

Although the Van Dyke was the first officer in decades to stand trial for an on-duty shooting and involved someone dying, the Kelly and Smollett cases are at least as sensational, given their celebrity status.

Smollett, who is black and gay and plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the Fox TV show, told police he was attacked by two masked men in downtown Chicago early on the morning of Jan. 29. He said the men — one of whom he said was white — hurled racist and homophobic slurs as they beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing.

Prosecutors allege the Smollett hired two friends to help him stage the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to drum up publicity to further his career. Smollett has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the 16 counts of disorderly conduct that he faces.

Kelly, meanwhile, has been trailed for decades by allegations that he victimized women and girls, though he was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 related to a tape that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. The singer maintains that he is innocent and has said he has never had sex with a minor.

Although Smollett’s and Kelly’s say their clients welcome the cameras, some caution that it may not a good idea.

Prominent New York defense attorney Joe Tacopina said he’d be worried that the cameras might affect how the trial proceeds, particularly when it comes to the judge.

“A judge who knows his every ruling is going to be watched on television is not going to want to look like he’s soft on crime,” he said. “That could work against the defense.”

Chicago lawyer Joe Lopez said that in Kelly’s case, allowing the trial to play out on television could affect the singer’s ability to earn a living no matter what the outcome if what unfolds turns off fans.

“The allegations are going to come out in the newspaper, true, but a lot of his audience are young kids and they watch TV and don’t read the newspaper,” he said.

Phil Turner, a Chicago defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, said the risks that the public might turn against Smollett are just as great.

He said that if the two brothers who have admitted that Smollett hired them to carry out the attack testify and come off as believable and sincere, it could make it easier for the public to dismiss what Smollett says if he takes the stand.

“Everybody knows this guy is an actor, he’s good at acting. But the two guys, by admitting they did it, it makes them completely credible.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

FILE: The Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse is seen in Manhattan as the jury deliberates i...
TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press

Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for helping Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for helping millionaire Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teen girls.
15 hours ago
FILE: (KSL TV)...
Associated Press

Airbnb permanently bans parties at its rental locations

Airbnb is making permanent its ban on parties at homes listed on the site for short-term rentals.
15 hours ago
16 May 2022, Brandenburg, Brandenburg/Havel: The defendant comes to the continuation of the trial o...
Inke Kappeler and Ben Brown, CNN

101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard sentenced to five years for Holocaust atrocities

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard has been sentenced to five years in prison by a German court for aiding and abetting the murder of 3,518 people in the Holocaust.
15 hours ago
Pedestrians carry shopping bags in San Francisco, California, US, on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. US co...
Alicia Wallace, CNN Business

Consumers are feeling less confident about the US economy as prices keep rising

U.S. consumer confidence continues to sour in the face of high gas and food prices and rising recession risks, according to new data.
15 hours ago
UVALDE, TX - JUNE 24: The memorial for the massacre at Robb Elementary School on June 24, 2022 in U...
Jennifer Henderson, Brad Parks and Holly Yan, CNN

A month after getting shot in the face, the grandmother of the Uvalde school shooter is released from a hospital

A grandmother who was shot by her grandson before he killed 21 people at a Texas elementary school has been released from a hospital.
15 hours ago
FILE (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)...
Gregory Wallace, CNN

Americans to set road trip record for July 4, AAA predicts

AAA's annual forecast for the July 4 holiday weekend says that 42 million Americans -- more than ever -- will take a road trip of 50 miles or more.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Judge Allows Courtroom Cameras For Trial Of R. Kelly