Artist News Legal

R Kelly’s third attempt to secure prison release due to COVID-19 fears denied

By | Published on Monday 18 May 2020

R Kelly

R Kelly has had a third attempt to secure release from prison denied, despite his legal team claiming he now has health issues that put him at risk of death from COVID-19. Knocking back the musician’s latest request for release, the judge said that his health complaints could be adequately managed in jail.

Earlier this month, the star’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, said that Kelly had recently learned that he had tested “1/10 of one point below diabetic”, which – the lawyer argued – would put his client at a high risk of complications from COVID-19 if he contracted the virus.

Greenberg also added that Kelly is overweight and has high blood pressure and cholesterol issues, which puts him at further risk. All of which meant, he went on, that Kelly should be kept under house arrest rather than in prison while awaiting trial, given that COVID-19 is now spreading across the prison population in the US.

However, according to the Chicago Tribune, the judge overseeing Kelly’s case in New York has again refused to allow him to continue to await trial outside of jail.

In a ruling on Friday, Judge Ann Donnelly said that Kelly is being seen by medical staff at the Chicago prison where he is being held in order to manage his health. They have recommended he lose weight and exercise, which should improve his condition and reduce the risk to his health if he does contract COVID-19.

Kelly is awaiting trial in New York, Chicago and Minnesota on various charges of and relating to sexual abuse. He and two other men are also facing charges over allegations they paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to potential witnesses in Kelly’s previous abuse trial in 2008, in exchange for their silence, hence the concerns over witness tampering.

Donnelly has also previously said that, due to pressure put on the criminal justice system by the COVID-19 crisis, it would be very difficult to monitor Kelly if he was allowed to move to house arrest. She has also noted that, this time, Kelly faces life imprisonment if found guilty of all the charges against him, putting him at a higher risk of fleeing.