*R. Kelly’s request to be released from jail over fear of becoming infected with COVID-19 has been denied.
In court documents obtained by Complex, Judge Ann M. Donnelly explained her reasons for rejecting Kelly’s plea.
“While I am sympathetic to the defendant’s understandable anxiety about COVID-19, he has not established compelling reasons warranting his release. At present, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the MCC in Chicago,” the judge wrote.
Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, previously revealed that due to the pandemic, visiting hours at MCC Chicago has been suspended, which prevents the singer from meeting with his legal team to prepare for his defense against the numerous sex crimes he’s been charged with.
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“The Bureau of Prisons has announced emergency measures to protect inmates and staff, including suspending all legal and social visits, suspending inmate facility transfers, making soap available to inmates, screening and testing inmates and staff and modifying operations at detention facilities like the MCC to maximize social distancing,” Judge Donnelly wrote in her decision.
The judge also points out that while the 53-year-old artist had surgery during his incarceration, “he does not explain how his surgical history places him at a higher risk of severe illness,” Donnelly writes.
Additionally, the judge considered R. Kelly a flight risk.
“[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 added that due to the pandemic, Kelly’s trial will not take place in July as scheduled, writing that “as conditions return to normal, [Kelly] and his lawyers will have additional time to prepare for trial.”
We previously reported… Kelly is practicing “social distancing” at Chicago’s federal jail to avoid the deadly coronavirus.
“I think it’s fair to say that he’s trying to follow the same advice as the rest of us, and be smart, and you know, stay away from others,” Greenberg told Vulture. “He’s practicing whatever level of social distancing you can practice in jail.”
Adding, “He’s concerned because he’s in probably the worst possible situation, in terms of social distancing, that you could be in.”
Kelly’s coronavirus concern came after convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein tested positive for the deadly virus in prison.