Artist News Legal

R Kelly’s legal team makes third attempt to secure release, says singer is “likely diabetic”

By | Published on Monday 4 May 2020

R Kelly

R Kelly’s legal team is having a third go at getting the musician released from prison over concerns that he could contract COVID-19 there. In the latest motion, it is argued that Kelly is “likely diabetic”, which would place him in a high risk group if he is exposed to the disease.

The musician’s attorney Steven Greenberg says that Kelly has recently learned that he has tested “1/10 of one point below diabetic”, which – the lawyer argues – would put his client at a high risk of complications from COVID-19. Greenberg also adds that Kelly is overweight and has high blood pressure and cholesterol issues, which puts him at further risk.

The lawyer says that COVID-19 is continuing to spread in the American prison population, and also accuses prison authorities of not providing Kelly with proper medical care. As an example of this, Greenberg claims that Kelly’s diabetes test results were withheld from him for a month and that he has still received no treatment for that condition as of yet.

Kelly is currently being held in custody in Chicago as he awaits trials there and in New York on various charges related to accusations of sexual abuse. He was incarcerated pending trial because of fears that he will attempt to flee the country, evidence of witness tampering in a previous trial, and evidence that he committed several crimes while previously out on bail.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the US, his legal team has been attempting to get Kelly released from prison to be held under house arrest. But on two previous occasions formal requests for release on COVID-19 grounds have been denied.

Prosecutors and the judges overseeing his trials all seem to agree that Kelly is a flight risk, despite his attorney’s claims that the star has no financial means to flee. Meanwhile judge Ann Donnelly last month added that, due to the ongoing pandemic, the authorities would not be able to properly monitor him if he was not in prison, giving him ample opportunity to go on the run.

Donnelly also argued that Kelly now has more reason to abscond compared to his previous sexual abuse trial in 2008 because his “circumstances and incentives are vastly different”. The severity of the charges in the new trials mean he now faces spending the rest of his life locked up if found guilty.

Both prosecutors and the judges have also raised concerns about evidence that Kelly previously tried to intimidate witnesses during that 2008 trial. Plus prosecutors add that, even while locked up, Kelly has a “significant network of individuals to assist him” in various activities, including attempting to coerce his accusers into retracting their claims against him.

The previous requests for Kelly’s release have also been knocked back in part because he does not have any underlying health conditions and there are no other factors, such as age, that put him at high risk of death if he contracts COVID-19. It remains to be seen if this new indication of possible diabetes changes that.