R. Kelly's Second Plea for Prison Release Denied Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

R. Kelly
Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Court Building after a hearing on sexual abuse charges on May 7, 2019 in Chicago.

Five days after R. Kelly made a second emergency plea to the New York court to release him from prison due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the judge has denied his bid, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Kelly’s legal team pleaded with U.S. District Judge Anne Donnelly, saying there are six confirmed COVID-19 cases of inmates in MCC, plus seven staff members. They also cited nationwide figures provided by the Bureau of Prisons on Wednesday acknowledging that there are 500 COVID-19-positive inmates, 298 positive staff and 17 deaths within their system.

The denial comes just a few weeks after Donnelly denied Kelly’s initial release request because at that time, there were “no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the MCC in Chicago.”

Kelly is awaiting trial in New York on charges of racketeering, transportation to engage in illegal sexual activity and coercion of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, among other charges. He is also awaiting trial in Illinois regarding separate sexual abuse allegations.

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