CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 26: R&B singer R. Kelly covers his mouth as he speaks to members of his entourage as he leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building following a hearing on June 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Prosecutors turned over to Kelly's defense team a DVD that alleges to show Kelly having sex with an underage girl in the 1990s. Kelly has been charged with multiple sex crimes involving four women, three of whom were underage at the time of the alleged encounters.
A judge recently denied R. Kelly’s request to be released from jail early due to the COVID-19 outbreak, as TMZ reports. Among the reasons given was the fact that he’s still considered a flight risk, according to legal documents that TMZ obtained.
“[Kelly] is currently in custody because of the risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses. The defendant has not explained how those risks have changed,” the judge said.The judge also stated that there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at MCC in Chicago where Kelly is currently incarcerated. The judge also noted that measures taken by the Bureau of Prisons are combating the spread of COVID-19 in its facilities. Thus far, social visits and facility transfers have been suspended.
The judge also said that Kelly isn’t a part of the at-risk group because he “is fifty-three years old, twelve years younger than the cohort of ‘older adults’ defined by the CDC as at high risk.”
The embattled singer had argued that he had surgery while behind bars. However, the judge stated that “he does not explain how his surgical history places him at a higher risk of severe illness. Moreover, officials in Chicago have advised the government that doctors have completed all treatment for the defendant’s recent operation.”
The singer also argued that due to COVID-19 he can’t strategize for his July trial with his legal team but the judge said that Kelly can still communicate with his lawyers via phone and email. The judge also stated that it’s unlikely the singer’s trial will proceed as scheduled in early July “as conditions return to normal, [Kelly] and his lawyers will have additional time to prepare for trial.”
Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan.