*R&B superstar R. Kelly, who is currently jailed in Chicago for sex crimes, will be moved to New York City for his sex trafficking and racketeering trial that is expected to kick off in August.
Kelly is also facing a potential second trial in Chicago this fall in a separate federal case related to child pornography, sexual exploitation of children and conspiracy to defraud the US government, per Page Six. The outlet reports that Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes told US District Judge Ann Donnelly during a recent virtual hearing that prosecutors would, “begin that process of moving [Kelly] to Brooklyn from Chicago for trial.”
The judge also noted that appropriate COVID safety measures will be in place for the trial.
“It’s going to be normal as that is defined in these unusual times,” she said. “It may be that communication is through headsets, but it’s been working in other trials so I’m not too concerned about that.”
Around this time last year, R. Kelly’s request to be released from jail over fear of contracting COVID-19 was denied. In court documents obtained by Complex, Judge 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 had been suspended, which prevented the singer from meeting with his legal team to prepare for his defense against the numerous sex crimes he’s been charged with.
“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 noted that while the artist had surgery during his incarceration, “he does not explain how his surgical history places him at a higher risk of severe illness,” Donnelly wrote.
Additionally, the judge considers 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.”