R. Kelly will have to stay trapped in the lockup while he awaits trials on charges of racketeering, sex trafficking and child pornography, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The 53-year-old R&B icon filed requests with federal judges in the Windy City and Brooklyn to spring him from Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, arguing that both his age and his recent hernia surgery put him at high risk for catching the coronavirus.
But Brooklyn federal judge Ann Donnelly disagreed in a ruling issued Tuesday, noting that there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 among Kelly’s fellow inmates in Chicago. “While I am sympathetic to the defendant’s understandable anxiety about COVID-19, he has not established compelling reasons warranting his release,” Donnelly wrote. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, would have needed approval from both Donnelly and Chicago federal judge Harry Leinenweber to grant his request to live with girlfriend Joycelyn Savage in her Windy City loft while awaiting trial.
Leinenweber has not issued a ruling on the motion for bail that the “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner filed in Chicago. Kelly’s Chicago trial on charges of producing child pornography and enticing minors to have sex with him had been set for June, but Donnelly said it will likely be postponed thanks to the virus outbreak. Douglas Anton, R. Kelly’s New Jersey-based lawyer, said the legal team is disappointed with Donnelly’s ruling and the judge’s description of Kelly as a flight risk — noting that before Kelly was put in pre-trial lockup he had no trouble showing up for court dates. “He could have run at any time and he never does,” Anton said.