The Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in downtown Chicago will reopen on Wednesday after ‘system failures’ caused the 60-year-old building to close for a day, delaying the high-profile trial of singer R. Kelly .
The courthouse at 219 S. Dearborn St. “experienced building-wide system failures that impacted the ability to open the building,” said Thomas Bruton, the district court clerk American, in an emailed statement. “We apologize for the interruptions and inconveniences that have delayed several proceedings and jury trials.”
No other description of system problems was provided.
The closure delayed proceedings in several ongoing trials at the building, including that of disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly and two former associates on charges related to child pornography and obstruction of justice.
Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago was scheduled to begin its fourth week Tuesday morning, when defense attorneys were expected to continue presenting their witnesses.
The trial had a tight schedule. Given ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, a single courtroom at Dirksen is large enough to handle a multi-defendant trial, and it is in high demand. If Kelly’s trial lasts much longer than four weeks, it may conflict with subsequent trials scheduled for this courtroom, potentially disrupting schedules for months to come.
The building’s closure, coupled with the long holiday weekend, means Kelly’s trial will almost certainly take place in a fifth week. Defense attorneys have yet to call several expected witnesses, including co-defendant Derrel McDavid, who was due to begin testifying on his own behalf on Tuesday.
Closing arguments are likely to be lengthy and jury deliberations are always unpredictable, especially given the relatively complicated charges.
Kelly, 55, faces an indictment charging him with 13 counts of producing and receiving child pornography, inciting minors to engage in criminal sexual activity and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Also charged are Kelly’s former associates McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, who are accused of allegedly trying to redeem incriminating sex tapes that had been extracted from Kelly’s collection and hiding years of alleged sexual abuse. on underage girls.