A judge has denied R Kelly’s request to be released from prison amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
The disgraced R&B singer, who is facing multiple federal and state charges of sex crimes, had sought a temporary release from prison or a new bail hearing. In a motion filed last month, Kelly’s attorneys argued that the singer’s confinement during the pandemic is “tantamount to making [him] drink poison,” citing “substandard” sanitation within the prison and difficultly in practicing social distancing.
However, Judge Ann M. Donnelly rejected Kelly’s request after concluding that he is “a flight risk and poses a danger to the community, especially prospective witnesses.”
“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 in her order.
Kelly is facing federal indictments in both New York and Illinois, as well as state charges in Illinois and Minnesota. Last month, federal prosecutors in New York hit Kelly with several more charges, including racketeering, coercion of a minor, and transportation of a minor across state lines.
While R Kelly remains behind bars, fellow hip-hop star Tekashi 6ix9ine was recently granted an early release from prison after successfully convincing a judge that his asthma made him more vulnerable to COVID-19.