nydailynews.com – Coronavirus won’t get R Kelly out of jail.
A Brooklyn federal judge ruled Tuesday that the R&B singer accused of making sex tapes with underage girls and knowingly transmitting herpes to some sexual partners must remain in federal jail in Chicago despite the pandemic, because he is not “high-risk” if he does contract it.
“While I am sympathetic to the defendant’s understandable anxiety about COVID-19, he has not established compelling reasons warranting his release,” wrote Federal Judge Ann Donnelly in her decision. “The defendant is 53 years old, 12 years younger than the cohort of “older adults” defined by the CDC as at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Although the defendant has had a surgery during his incarceration, he does not explain how his surgical history places him at a higher risk of severe illness.”
The judge also noted that no detainees at the Chicago federal prison where Kelly is currently being held have tested positive for the deadly disease.
Judge Donnelly’s ruling didn’t even grant the disgraced “I Believe I Can Fly” singer a bail hearing, which is what his lawyers asked for back on March 26.
“The health risk to Mr. Kelly, because of his age and because of the multiple surgeries he has undergone — including a recent surgery while incarcerated — coupled with the conditions at the MCC as described below, necessitates his temporary release on bail until this pandemic has ended,” his lawyers wrote in their filing.
Kelly had emergency throat surgery in 2011, and while in prison underwent surgery for a hernia.
Judge Donnelly also said that Kelly was a flight risk, as well as a risk to “obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses.”
Kelly, a Chicago native, is charged in Brooklyn Federal Court with racketeering, for allegedly running an enterprise in which women and girls were selected from his concert audiences and recruited as sexual partners, for having sexual relations with three girls under 18 and with making child pornography.
His trial is set for July 7, though Judge Donnelly noted in her ruling that it “appears unlikely” due to coronavirus that it will be held on time.