R. Kelly‘s second appeal plea for release for jail has been turned down, after a request for bail earlier this month was also denied.
Kelly has been in prison without bond since last July after being arrested on a 13-count federal indictment. He’s pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York, including racketeering and several sexual assault and abuse charges.
Earlier this month lawyers filed a motion requesting that the singer was bailed due to concerns that he would contract coronavirus. They argue that it’s an “absolute probability” he “will be infected with this deadly disease”.
This was rejected by U.S. District Judge Anne Donnelly, who pointed out that there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Centre, where he’s held.
“While I am sympathetic to the defendant’s understandable anxiety about COVID-19, he has not established compelling reasons warranting his release,” Judge Donnelly wrote.
Now, Donnelly has turned down his request once more and ruled that the singer remains a flight risk and could possibly “intimidate prospective witnesses” if he’s released.
“The risks associated with the defendant’s release have not changed,” Donnelly wrote. “The defendant continues to downplay the risk that he might flee, citing his attendance record in connection with the 2002 state criminal charges against him.”
Donnelly continued: “Even aside from the risk of flight, the risk that the defendant would try to obstruct justice or intimidate prospective witnesses has not dissipated, and poses a danger to the community.”
Speaking to USA Today, one of Kelly’s lawyers Mike Leonard said he was “disappointed” with the decision.
Kelly’s lawyers had previously argued that there are now six confirmed cases of the disease in the correctional centre, and that it’s an “absolute probability” he “will be infected with this deadly disease” if he isn’t released.
In response to arguments that Kelly would attempt to flee should he be released, his lawyers said that he would be “the most obvious and recognisable person on the streets of Chicago, or anywhere else in the country” if he tried.
Prosecutors responded to the singer by arguing that he has already made more than $200,000 in royalties just this year and definitely has the means to escape the country.