R Kelly denied bail after trying to secure release because of coronavirus

R Kelly has been denied bail by a New York judge after he tried to secure a temporary release because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Yesterday (April 8), U.S. District Judge Anne Donnelly ruled that the singer must remain in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, Illinois, where he is currently being held.

Kelly has been in prison without bond since last July after being arrested on a 13-count federal indictment. He’s pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York, including racketeering and several sexual assault and abuse charges.

As reported in Billboard, last month Kelly’s lawyers filed a motion requesting that the singer was bailed due to concerns surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, this was rejected by Donnelly.

R. Kelly
R. Kelly in court. Credit: E. Jason Wambsgans-Pool/Getty Images

“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 opinion, adding: “at present, there are no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the MCC in Chicago.”

She added that the Bureau of Prisons had taken measures to ensure the safety of prisoners and that Kelly was not among the “at risk” groups identified by authorities.

Donnelly said: “the defendant is fifty-three years old, twelve years younger than the cohort of ‘older adults’ defined by the CDC as high risk for severe illness from Covid-19.

“Although the defendant has had surgery during his incarceration, he does not explain how his surgical history places him at a higher risk of severe illness.”

Donnelly further added that he is in custody because of “risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses.”