One Inmate Not Getting Released: R. Kelly

Judge denies request a 2nd time, citing flight risk

R. Kelly has been denied release from prison for the second time amid the coronavirus pandemic. A federal judge acknowledged Tuesday that the virus was spreading in Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Kelly is awaiting trial for alleged sex crimes.

Kelly’s lawyers noted an inmate on his floor had to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, per TMZ. But US District Judge Ann Donnelly, who also denied Kelly’s earlier request on April 7, said the singer had not shown himself to be uniquely vulnerable.

“Even aside from the risk of flight, the risk that the defendant would try to obstruct justice or intimidate prospective witnesses has not dissipated, and poses a danger to the community,” Donnelly said, per USA Today. Kelly attorney Mike Leonard said “the government failed to come forward with any credible evidence, beyond conspiracy theories, that Mr. Kelly is a risk of flight … or a danger to the community.”

Earlier this month, Donnelly said Kelly had “not established compelling reasons” for his release, despite his “understandable anxiety about COVID-19,” per USA Today. TMZ reports there were no known cases at the prison at the time.