A judge has decided that R. Kelly will remain in custody as he awaits trial.
Federal Judge Ann Donnelly denied Kelly's request to be released during a Wednesday hearing in Brooklyn that Kelly was not present for, Page Six reports.
The embattled singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is facing various charges, many of them related to sexual crimes involving minors, in three different states. He is currently being held at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, but his lawyer, Steve Greenberg, on Monday filed a motion requesting that Kelly, 52, be released due to various health issues that are allegedly not being treated while he is in custody, including “numbness in his hand, anxiety, and an untreated hernia,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Greenberg also complained that Kelly is only allowed to have one of his two “lady friends” visit him at a time, the paper reports.
“No other friends or professional colleagues are allowed to visit. That is not right,” Greenberg wrote.
He went on to argue that Kelly is not a flight risk because he has “almost no financial resources” and his passport has not been stamped in the 10 years since it was issued, according to NBC Chicago.
However, prosecutors argued in their response that Kelly has more financial resources than he lets on, and releasing him runs the risk of giving him an opportunity to intimidate witnesses, according to court documents filed Wednesday and obtained by Oxygen.com. Kelly continues to receive royalties for his music and is channeling those funds to a friend’s bank account, but he can easily access those funds himself, prosecutors claimed. They also alleged that Kelly “has a history of coercing women to write letters containing false and embarrassing allegations” so that he can later use those letters to blackmail them into keeping silent.
Prosecutors said that Kelly is very much a flight risk, having attempted to travel to a different country with his two girlfriends while he was released on bail earlier this year.
“While the defendant may not have traveled internationally in recent years, it is not true that he lacks the ability and desire to do so,” the documents read. “Indeed, this year, after he had been released on bail in his current Cook County case, he sought to travel to Dubai with his two live-in girlfriends, each of whom took steps to accompany him by submitting applications to obtain their own passports. Indeed, his desire to travel abroad is likely even higher given his diminished stature here in the United States. This is another factor that demonstrates his risk of his flight.”
Judge Donnelly agreed with prosecutors on Wednesday, according to Page Six, commenting that the singer’s financial situation is “murky, to say the least,” and that there’d be nothing to stop him from intimidating witnesses, were he set free.
Kelly’s trial date regarding the federal charges in New York has been scheduled for May 18, 2020, and is expected to last for three weeks, the outlet reports.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer is also facing multiple federal charges in Chicago, Illinois that include racketeering and the sexual exploitation of a child, according to indictments that were unsealed in July. A trial date for those charges has been set for April 27, according to CBS News.
Kelly is also facing charges in Minnesota, where he’s been accused of paying a minor female to undress for him in 2001.
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