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 cannot be photographed or filmed without their consent, a judge has ruled.
The Grammy-winning singer did not attend the brief hearing in Chicago’s Cook County Circuit Court, but his lawyer 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 lawyer Steve Greenberg.
“So far there have been rumours, there have been allegations … but with cameras in the courtroom, everyone will see what really happens.”
The judge in Smollett’s case, who also sits on the Cook County Circuit Court, has not 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 is 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 do not 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.