Court allows R Kelly to stay free

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009

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A US judge has allowed R Kelly to remain free on bond pending his trial on child pornography charges, even though the R&B singer missed a court appearance this week.

Prosecutors had asked that Kelly's bond be revoked because of the missed appearance, which came in the midst of a nine-week concert tour promoting his new album Double Up.

But Judge Vincent Gaughan of the Cook County District Court ruled that Kelly, a double nominee for the 2008 Grammys whose album sales are in the millions, could remain free while pretrial hearings continue.

Kelly's lawyers had argued he had made all previous court dates and said this week's absence was an accident because his tour bus was delayed by snow in California and was later stopped for speeding in Utah.

Kelly was charged with child pornography in 2002 for allegedly making a video of himself having sex with an under-aged girl. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The trial has been repeatedly delayed by maneuvering over what kinds of testimony could be presented. Gaughan on Friday set a trial date of May 9.

He also ordered Kelly to cancel the last show on his tour - January 13 in Hampton, Virginia - so that he will have no trouble making it to court for his next pretrial hearing on January 14.

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- Reuters

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