CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — A federal judge has granted prosecutors’ request for an order restricting access to and what can be said publicly about evidence in singer R. Kelly’s child pornography and obstruction of justice case.
Kelly’s attorneys had objected to the terms of the protective order federal prosecutors sought on evidence in the case, arguing it would prevent them from responding to public comments any witnesses or their representatives might make.
However, federal prosecutors said only one of five victims in the case ever has spoken publicly, and the rest will tell their stories for the first time in court.
Prosecutors said a protective order is necessary to protect the victims’ privacy, and make sure the case can continue without any bias.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber granted the prosecutors’ request for a protective order, telling Kelly’s defense team they could come back to court if they need to respond to any public statements or news reports about the case that aren’t already in the public domain.
Kelly faces federal charges accusing him of producing and receiving child pornography, obstruction of justice, and coercing minors to engage in sex.
The charges also include allegations he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover tapes of him sexually abusing the girl at the center of his 2008 child pornography trial and coerced the victim to lie about what happened.
The 52-year-old is being held without bond and wasn’t at Wednesday’s hearing.
Federal prosecutors have suggested they could file a more far-ranging indictment in the case against Kelly and two associates, potentially adding new charges and additional defendants.
Meantime, Kelly is scheduled to appear in federal court in New York on Friday, for arraignment on a separate case charging him with racketeering, transporting for prostitution, and coercion or enticement to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Federal prosecutors in New York have said Kelly and his managers, bodyguards, and other employees acted as a criminal enterprise to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly. Kelly and his enterprise would pick out women and girls who attended his concerts and other events; and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly. He would later hold them against their will, according to the feds.
Once the women and girls Kelly had picked started staying with him, he and his employees would set rules his victims had to follow, including not leaving their rooms without Kelly’s permission, even to eat or go to the bathroom; not looking at other men; to wear baggy clothing whenever they weren’t with him; demanding absolute commitment to Kelly; and calling the singer “Daddy.”
Kelly allegedly coerced some of the girls he’d abused to engage in sexually explicit conduct on video, which he later had shipped across state lines. The feds also said he didn’t inform his victims that he had a sexually transmitted disease.
Kelly will be returned to the federal lockup in Chicago after his arraignment in New York.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)