CHICAGO - Two years after his arrest, the process to start the federal trial against R. Kelly in New York City will begin.
Kelly is charged with racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and forced labor. What makes this case different from the criminal case back in 2008 is that the prosecution can lay out way more evidence.
Text messages from 2016 will be brought into the trial, where the singer's employees refer to an 18-year-old woman that was being allegedly punished by Kelly.
Prosecutors will lay out evidence from 19 females. Seven were minors at the time of contact with Kelly. There is also new evidence alleging that Kelly abused a 17-year-old boy he met at a McDonald’s in Chicago.
The 54-year-old singer is accused of being the leader of a criminal enterprise that for 30 years used his musical talents to not just make music, but to allegedly abuse and enslave girls, make child pornography and satisfy Kelly’s personal sexual urges.
Former federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer says Kelly’s legal team will have a tough job in this trial.
"He sold millions and millions of records, obviously. So you can't say that the only purpose of his enterprise…is to commit crimes. So you have to persuade (the jury) yes, it does exist to sell records. However, a main component of this enterprise, and maybe after awhile the only reason for this enterprise, was to help facilitate his relationships with underage women," Cramer said.
Jury selection for Kelly’s trial starts Monday.