Top Celebrity Trials of 2021

Posted at 1:15 PM, December 22, 2021 and last updated 6:55 PM, July 7, 2023

ATLANTA (Court TV) — 2021 was a big year for celebrities on trial, from R&B artist R-Kelly to ex-‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett. These high-profile cases ran the gamut as far as charges, but they all had similar verdicts.



In September of 2021, a jury found Grammy award-winning singer R. Kelly guilty of all charges in his federal sex trafficking case, and the testimony of several women was instrumental in each of the guilty verdicts.

Kelly’s federal case in Brooklyn was complex, and prosecutors used a unique application of federal racketeering laws, alleging Kelly was operating a criminal enterprise across multiple state lines.

With his conviction, Kelly could be sentenced to life in prison.

Bill Cosby gestures as he approaches members of the media gathered outside his home in Elkins Park, Pa., following his release from prison Wednesday, June 30, 2021, after Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned his sex assault conviction. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


Back in June 2021, actor comedian Bill Cosby was freed from prison after Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned his sex assault conviction. The court found that an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case.

Cosby served a little more than two years of his sentence.

After being released from prison, Cosby appeared in front of the cameras along with his legal team.


The most recent celebrity trial of this year happened earlier this month, when a Chicago jury found ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett guilty of staging a brutal hate crime against himself.

Smollett was accused of staging an anti-gay, racist attack on himself, then lying to police about it in January of 2019.

Smollett was convicted on five counts of disorderly conduct, each count representing a separate time he lied to police after the alleged attack.

Attorneys for Smollett say they will appeal his conviction and hope to clear his name through an appellate court.


Geoffrey Paschel, 44, was convicted of aggravated kidnapping, domestic assault and interference with emergency calls on October 7, 2021. Judge Kyle Hixson revoked the reality TV star’s bond, ordered him into custody and set a sentencing hearing for Feb. 2021. (Court TV)

In October of 2021, a Tennessee jury found a former “90 Day Fiancé” cast member, Geoffrey Paschel, guilty of all charges in his assault and kidnapping case.

It took the jury just one hour and 49 minutes to reach their decision.


The prosecutor in Paschel’s case, Heather Good, sat down with Court TV. She says Paschel is facing a minimum of 12 years and due to Pachel’s prior convictions, the state intends to seek a sentence “at the top of the range.” According to Good, “No matter what amount of time he gets, it has to be a prison sentence.”