R. Kelly seeks release before trial, claims prison is breeding ground for coronavirus: Reports

Embattled singer R. Kelly unsuccessfully sought his release from an Illinois prison amid the coronavirus pandemic.

People reported that Kelly’s legal team filed a motion for bond on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. They claimed Kelly, 53, is at higher risk for contracting the virus and claimed that hand sanitizer and soap are in short supply at Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) and that inmates are being kept in small, two-person cells.

The court determined that Kelly is too young to be considered to be high risk and that his recent surgery for a hernia did not deem him especially vulnerable. Federal authorities claimed the prison is equipped with plenty of soap and cleaning supplies and that nobody at the jail has tested positive, according to TMZ

Read continuing coverage on the coronavirus pandemic

“If released, there is a risk that the defendant will flee and that the defendant will obstruct, attempt to obstruct, threaten, intimidate or attempt to threaten or intimidate one or more prospective witnesses,” prosecutors wrote in response to Kelly’s filing, according to The Blast.

But Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, reportedly claimed the prison isn’t up to code and that they aren’t able to prepare for trial as the prison has banned all visitors due to the pandemic. TMZ reports that Greenberg said prisoners are fighting over the phone and that it is difficult to reach his client.

However, prosecutors stated that Kelly met with his legal team as recently as March 18 and that the prison is still allowing attorney visits on “a case-by-case basis,” according to The Blast.

Federal prosecutors in Illinois have charged Kelly with a total of 26 criminal counts — 13 which were filed in February — for charges including child pornography, obstruction of justice, and sexual abuse of a minor. The singer is facing multiple federal charges in New York for allegedly infecting a woman and minor girl with herpes, racketeering, and sex trafficking that crossed state lines.

Kelly is also facing a total of 21 sex-related criminal charges in Cook County, Illinois — 11 which were filed in May and 10 in February. Those state charges reportedly stem from allegations dating back to 1998 and involve at least three underage girls.

In August, authorities in Minnesota charged Kelly with two counts of prostitution with a person under 18 in connection with an alleged 2001 incident.

Kelly’s trial in New York is set for July. His trial in Chicago is scheduled to begin on October 13.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to a related episode:

Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most – your children.

[Featured image: R. Kelly/Cook County Sheriff’s Office]