CHICAGO (CBS) — A verdict in R. Kelly’s sex trafficking trial in New York could come in a matter of days. The federal jury in New York went today after a few hours of deliberations.
Whatever that jury decides, the R&B singer still has two other criminal cases in Chicago, including Cook County charges accusing him of sexually assaulting four women years ago, and federal charges accusing him of videotaping himself having sex with underage girls, and paying hush money and intimidating witnesses to cover up his crimes.READ MORE: Another Victim Of Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy Identified: Francis Wayne Alexander, Of North Carolina
A legal expert told CBS 2’s Jermont Terry what’s next for R. Kelly, no matter the verdict in New York.
“Mr. Kelly and his defense team, they’re going to have some sleepless nights,” said attorney Steven Block, a former federal prosecutor.
If Kelly is convicted in the federal trial in New York, what does that mean for his cases in Chicago?
“I think it does not bode well for R. Kelly,” Block said. “It becomes a bellwether, an indicator of what might happen in future cases.”
Why would prosecutors move forward in Chicago if he’s convicted in New York? Block said it’s a fair question.
“These cases are expensive. They use resources and make witnesses and victims relive trauma,” he said. “We’ve seen nothing to indicate that the Illinois cases will not go forward if there’s a conviction.”READ MORE: Teen Charged In Pair Of September 2020 Carjackings On South Side
However, Block said there’s no indication the two cases in Illinois will not go forward if Kelly is found guilty in New York.
If Kelly is acquitted of the federal racketeering charges he faces in New York, Block said federal and state prosecutors here “are going to look very closely at their evidence.”
“They’re going want to shore up any holes that they identify after seeing what happened in New York. I think they’d want to simplify their charges here in Chicago if there’s a not guilty verdict in New York, and really focus in on the strongest charges that are easy for a jury to understand,” he said.
As for the deliberations in New York, if there’s not a verdict early next week, who does that normally benefit?
“I think a quick verdict in a case like this would certainly be a strong sign for the prosecution. I think that, at some point, a longer period of deliberation weighs in favor for the defense, at least as to some of the charges,” Block said. “The longer we go, it means they’re carefully evaluating the evidence.”
If there is mistrial in New York, how does that affect the cases here in Chicago?
“A hung jury, a mistrial, is not good for the prosecution, and it’s not good sign if they’re trying to bring future cases against the defendant,” Block said.MORE NEWS: Desperate To Find More Staff, Some Fast Food Restaurants Recruiting Customers
If convicted in New York, Kelly faces up to life in prison. He’s denied all charges.