Editor’s Note: A version of this story was originally published in 2019. It has been updated to include more recent events in the case.
A federal trial for singer R. Kelly, who has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and sex trafficking charges that could send him to prison for decades, is underway.
But the accusations of abuse, manipulation and inappropriate encounters with girls and young women have been around – and vehemently denied – by Kelly for decades.
January 1992: Kelly’s musical debut
Kelly’s debut album, “Born into the 90’s,” is released a year after he signs a deal with Jive Records. It features his group Public Announcement and includes hit singles “Honey Love,” “Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ)” and “She’s Got That Vibe.” Fans will later note that one of the lyrics on the latter says, “Little cute Aaliyah’s got it.”
November 1993: Kelly cements his musical style
Kelly releases his solo album “12 Play.” Songs such as “Bump n’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin’ ” firmly cement his image as an artist specializing in sexual lyrics.
August 1994: Kelly and Aaliyah
The 27-year-old singer reportedly marries his 15-year-old protégé, Aaliyah Haughton. Kelly is the lead songwriter and producer on her debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.”
Vibe magazine later publishes a copy of what they report is the couple’s marriage license, listing Haughton’s age as 18.
The marriage is annulled the following year after Aaliyah’s family becomes aware of it, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Haughton is killed in a plane crash in August 2001.
1996: Kelly gets married
Kelly marries dancer/choreographer Andrea Lee in a private ceremony.
December 1996: Legal troubles begin
Tiffany Hawkins files suit against Kelly as well as his record, publishing and management companies, claiming personal injuries and emotional damage arising from an alleged sexual relationship with Kelly, which she says began when she was 15 and ended when she was 18.
That case is reportedly settled out of court.
Around the same time, Kelly’s gospel-tinged single “I Believe I Can Fly” is included in the film “Space Jam,” starring Michael Jordan. The song becomes one of the singer’s biggest hits.
December 2000: Making headlines
Jim Derogatis and Abdon M. Pallasch publish their first report in the Chicago Sun-Times on allegations of Kelly having sexual relationships with girls as young as 15.
The article outlines the Hawkins suit as well as Kelly’s marriage to Haughton.
According to the story, Chicago police had twice investigated allegations that Kelly was having sex with an underage girl but dropped the investigations because the girl would not cooperate.
A representative for Kelly declines to comment.
January 2001: A tape emerges
Derogatis anonymously receives a videotape that appears to show Kelly having sex with a young woman, he later reports in the Sun-Times.
Out of concern that the person on the tape may be underage, it is turned over to Chicago police.
August 2001: More legal troubles
Tracy Sampson, an aspiring rapper and former intern at Epic Records, files a lawsuit against Kelly, claiming he initiated a sexual relationship with her when she was 17.
The case is settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
February 2002: Allegations denied
The Chicago Sun-Times reports police are investigating Kelly after another sex tape is sent anonymously.
“The girl in the video, now 17, was identified by her aunt, who said that her niece would have been 14 at the time the tape was made, based on her appearance,” the paper reported. “Kelly can also be heard on the tape referring to the girl by her first name.”
Kelly denies the allegations.
“It’s not true. All I know is this: I have a few people in the past that I’ve fired … people that I’ve thought were my friends that’s not my friends,” he tells WMAQ Channel 5 at the time. “It’s crap, and that’s how we’re going to treat it.”
March 2002: Tape copied and sold
Bootleg copies of the “R. Kelly sex tape” are sold on the streets, according to multiple news reports.
April 2002: Case settled out of court
The singer is sued by Patrice Jones, who alleges she was 16 when she began a sexual relationship with Kelly.
She also accuses Kelly of pressuring her into terminating a pregnancy that resulted from their alleged encounters.
Kelly’s attorney, Gerry Margolis, calls the suit “a collection of half-truths, distortions and outright lies.”
The case is settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
May 2002: Another case settled out of court
Dancer Montina “Tina” Woods, 33, sues Kelly after she alleges he secretly taped their sexual encounter and the tape was being sold.
Representatives for Kelly call the suit “ridiculous” and “nonsensical.” The case is later settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
June 2002: Kelly indicted
Kelly is indicted on 21 charges related to child pornography resulting from the second anonymously sent videotape of him appearing to have sex with a young girl.
The singer is arrested at his Florida vacation home.
Kelly maintains his innocence and is released on bail.
September 2005: Marital strain
Kelly’s wife files for an order of protection. The pair later reconcile, and she rescinds the order.
May 2007: Kelly defended by his wife
Andrea Kelly gives an interview to Essence magazine.
“What doesn’t break you makes you stronger, and I’m living proof,” she says. “I know the allegations against my husband don’t reflect on me as an individual. They don’t reflect on me as a mom or as a wife, and they don’t reflect on me in my everyday life.”
May 2008: Jury selection
After years of delays, jury selection finally begins for the child pornography trial against Kelly, which was reduced to 14 charges.
June 2008: Kelly acquitted
Kelly is found not guilty on all counts after the jury deliberates for a day.
January 2009: Kelly divorces
Kelly and his wife finalize their divorce.
July 2014: Protests
The star’s planned performance at the Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio, is canceled after protests.
“The people of Columbus didn’t feel that R. Kelly’s reputation was reflective of their community, and took to social media to adamantly express their opinions,” the festival’s communications director, Melissa Dickson, says in a statement. “FMMF heard their concerns and took action.”
December 2015: Kelly walks out of interview
Kelly storms out of an interview with “HuffPost Live” after the host asks him questions about past allegations of misconduct.
July 2017: BuzzFeed story
BuzzFeed publishes an explosive article outlining allegations that Kelly is holding a group of adult women against their will as part of what some of their parents say is a “cult.”
A group of people cited in the article allege their daughters, ages 18 to 31, are a part of an entourage of at least six women attached to Kelly.
Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage tell CNN they believe their adult daughter, Joycelyn, is having a sexual relationship with Kelly and she is being manipulated by him into cutting off contact with the outside world.
Joycelyn Savage denies those claims and asks her parents, via a video shared with TMZ, to stop speaking out about her relationship with Kelly.
Oronike Odeleye starts a petition to get Kelly’s music off the airwaves in Atlanta, which catches the eye of activist Kenyette Barnes and the hashtag #MuteRKelly is born.
August 2017: New allegations
Jerhonda Johnson Pace, 24, breaks a nondisclosure agreement and tells BuzzFeed she was 15 and a fan when she met the singer in 2008 outside the Chicago courtroom where he was on trial for child pornography charges.
She alleges that she began a sexual relationship with Kelly when she was 16.
Kelly denies the allegation.
October 2017: More allegations
Rolling Stone publishes an interview with former Dallas DJ Kitti Jones. She alleges she was in a relationship with Kelly while in her ’30s that mirrored allegations in the BuzzFeed article.
April 2018: More protests against Kelly
The Women of Color group within the Time’s Up movement calls on the entertainment industry to cut ties with Kelly.
May 2018: New legal troubles
A 20-year-old woman files suit against the singer, claiming he unlawfully gave her alcohol, assaulted her and gave her a sexually transmitted disease.
According to the suit obtained by CNN, Faith Rodgers says she was 19 when she first met the singer.
July 2018: Kelly responds in song
The singer continues to deny the allegations and releases the song “I Admit” as an answer to his critics.
December 2018: Screening shut down over threats
A New York screening for the docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly ” is evacuated after a threatening phone call is made to the event’s location.
January 2019: ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ debuts
“Surviving R. Kelly” premieres to big ratings and renews calls for Kelly to be investigated.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, tells CNN that his client “has done nothing wrong.”
“Someone with an agenda has done a hit piece,” Greenberg says of the docuseries. “(Kelly’s) out in public. He’s not hiding. There’s no secret compound with sex slaves.”
February 2019: Kelly indicted on new charges
Lawyer Michael Avenatti tells CNN that prosecutors investigating Kelly are looking into a newly surfaced video that appears to show the music star having sex with a young woman.
A grand jury in Cook County, Illinois, indicts Kelly on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse – a Class 2 felony – involving four alleged victims. The indictment accuses Kelly of sexual acts with three children older than 13 but younger than 17. There is no age range listed for one of the alleged victims. The singer pleads not guilty.
Kelly is jailed on February 22 and released February 25 after posting $100,000 bail.
March 2019: Kelly interviewed
Kelly is interviewed by CBS News’ Gayle King and says he is innocent of the accusations. “I’m very tired of all of the lies,” Kelly says.
May 2019: More Cook County charges
A Cook County grand jury issues an 11-count indictment on new charges ranging from aggravated criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual assault to aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
July 2019: Federal indictments
The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois releases a 13-count indictment that includes child pornography and obstruction of justice charges.
Kelly is also charged with sex trafficking in New York and attempting to influence a case in Atlanta in a five-count indictment from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, a source with knowledge of the arrest said.
August 2019: Prostitution charges and a not guilty plea
Kelly was charged with two counts of engaging in prostitution with a person under 18 in Minnesota in connection with an alleged incident that occurred in July 2001 at a promotional event.
According to the complaint, the singer gave a then 17-year-old girl his autograph and a phone number.
After calling, she was then allegedly directed to his hotel in Minneapolis.
Kelly allegedly then gave the teen $200 to dance for him and undress, the complaint stated.
The embattled performer also pleaded not guilty to a host of charges in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, including counts of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child.
September 2019: Illinois trial date set
Authorities announced Kelly’s trial date on 13 federal charges in Illinois has been set for April 27, 2020.
Kelly remained in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
A bench warrant was issued for him in Hennepin County District Court in Minnesota for failure to appear, a spokesman for the county attorney’s office told CNN.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, took to Twitter to dispute that his client failed to appear, saying “I was not served with any notice of court proceedings, nor was he. I did not resist his appearance, nor did he.”
October 2019: Missed federal court hearing
A toenail infection caused Kelly to miss a federal court hearing.
Greenberg said his client was in a walking boot after having his toenail removed and didn’t want anyone to step on his foot.
December 2019: New charge and not guilty plea
Greenberg entered a not guilty plea in the singer’s New York racketeering case after the Justice Department added a charge of bribery against Kelly, accusing him of obtaining a false ID for an unidentified woman in 1994.
The New York Times, citing a person familiar with the matter, reported the Jane Doe was singer Aaliyah, who was 15 years old when Kelly married later that year.
She died in 2001 at the age of 22 in a plane crash.
January 2020: Season 2 of ‘Surviving R. Kelly’
Lifetime begins airing “Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning.”
The five-episode series features interviews from a variety of perspectives, including more alleged victims, family members, supporters, psychologists and cultural and legal experts.
March 13, 2020
Kelly faces new accusations. An updated indictment adds five acts of racketeering and charges the singer with four more counts of violating the Mann Act for allegedly coercing and transporting women and girls across state lines to engage in illegal sexual activity.
August 28, 2020
Attorneys for R. Kelly say he was punched in his Illinois jail cell by a fellow inmate and call for his release.
September 8, 2020
Kelly’s trial is delayed due to the pandemic. An appellate court rejects his appeal to be released on bail ahead of his trial.
June 9, 2021
Kelly requests major changes to his legal team, just two months prior to the start of his federal trial in Brooklyn. Half of his legal team, attorneys Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard, withdraw from the case, leaving Tom Farinella and Nicole Blank Becker as Kelly’s legal representatives.
June 23, 2021
Kelly moved to Brooklyn jail ahead of his August trial. New York attorney Deveraux Cannick, a former assistant district attorney for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, joins Kelly’s legal team.
August 9, 2021
Jury selection begins in Kelly’s trial. Twelve jurors and six alternates will be selected. Due to Covid protocols, US District Judge Ann Donnelly determines at a pretrial hearing that witnesses in the case will testify from the jury box and jurors would be spread out in the gallery. Media and members of the public will have access to a video feed of the proceedings but will likely be unable to see evidence as it’s presented at trial.
August 18, 2021
Opening arguments begin and the trial is expected to last between six and eight weeks. Twelve anonymous jurors – seven men and five women – and six alternates were selected. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
CNN’s Sonia Moghe, Kendall Trammell, Brad Parks, Steve Almasy, Lauren del Valle, Doug Criss, Darran Simon, Omar Jimenez , Dakin Andone, Jennifer Goelz and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.