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R. Kelly again asks judge to free him from jail amid COVID-19 outbreak

by Regena Sievier (2020-05-06)

A week after a federal judge rejected R Kelly's request to be released amid the coronavirus outbreak, the rapper on Thursday made another attempt to regain his freedom, this time claiming that he is in danger of contracting the deadly disease behind bars, and arguing that he would not be a flight risk because he is too recognizable.

R Kelly's defense team filed an emergency motion seeking his release, which hinges on a recent revelation that six inmates and seven staff members at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago have tested positive for COVID-19.

The rapper has been held at the jail awaiting trial since last July. The 53-year-old faces several dozen counts of state and federal sexual misconduct charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York, from sexual assault to heading a racketeering scheme aimed at supplying him with girls. 

Defense lawyers representing R. Kelly (pictured in court last September) on Thursday filed a new motion for release, arguing the jailed rapper is in danger of contracting the deadly disease behind bars

When a federal judge rejected Kelly's first motion for release last week, the Metropolitan Correctional Center had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among inmates, but since then six have tested positive 





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Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all counts. 

In his motion filed with US District Judge Ann Donnelly, Kelly's defense attorney Michael Leonard painted a harrowing picture of life behind bars amid the coronavirus pandemic marred by heightened 'stress,' reported Chicago Tribune. 

'Inmates are reportedly banging on doors, walls, and windows begging for help,' he wrote. 'The only thing the MCC has done is lock things down, making the situation feel more like solitary confinement and possibly, because of the nature of this virus, locking in healthy inmates with those who may already have the virus but who may not yet be symptomatic.'

In a bid to bolster his argument, the attorney cited data released by the US Bureau of Prisons, indicating that 500 inmates nationwide have tested positive for the coronavirus and 17 have died in federal lockup. 

'Based on all of the above, that Mr. Kelly will be infected with this deadly disease, is now unfortunately an absolute probability,' Leonard wrote.

In case you loved this informative article and you would love to receive more information relating to General Information ( please visit the website. Leonard sought to reassure the court that if released to a loft apartment in Chicago, where his girlfriend, Joycelyn Savage, lives, Kelly would not be a flight risk because he would be subjected to round-the-clock GPS monitoring and surveillance. 

If he tried to run away, Kelly 'would be perhaps the most obvious and recognizable person on the streets of Chicago, or anywhere else in the country, in light of the severe stay-at-home restrictions that are and will continue to be in place and enforced,' his attorney argued. 

As of Thursday evening, there were 658,962 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 33,524 deaths nationwide 

The first court filing from March accused jail officials of taking few precautions to stem the spread of the virus and failing to provide an adequate supply of soap and hand sanitizer.  

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said the Chicago lockup and other federal facilities have taken steps to prevent the virus from spreading. 

Further, they wrote that a 'generalized risk' that an inmate could contract the virus doesn't justify their release.

Judge Donnelly denied Kelly's first motion for release last Tuesday, ruling that the disgraced R&B singer was deemed a flight risk. 

She noted in her decision that at the time, the MCC had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the jail. 

R Kelly's lawyer argued that if he is freed, he could not flee because he would be too recognizable in Chicago, especially because of strict lockdown restrictions  

'The defendant is currently in custody because of the risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses,' she wrote in her denial. 'The defendant has not explained how those risks have changed.' 

During a status hearing held over the phone on Thursday, the judge ordered prosecutors to respond to the arguments laid out in the defense's second motion by Friday. 

She also rescheduled Kelly's racketeering triall in New York from July 7 to September 29, but both sides agreed it could be delayed again.  



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R. Kelly renews effort to gain release after news of COVID-19 cases in Chicago federal lockup, and his New York trial is delayed - Chicago Tribune