Singer R. Kelly failed to appear in court Thursday on state level sex charges after he “refused transport” from his federal jail cell in Chicago, prosecutors said.
Kelly, who is being held in federal custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, had been scheduled to appear at the routine pretrial hearing in Cook County to discuss evidence and bail issues related to the sex crimes charges against him, but the entertainer never showed.
“The defendant was to be brought to court today. That was all worked out. The sheriffs were going to be bringing him over,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Gonzales said, according to NBC News. “As I understand it, he refused transport and so that is why the defendant is not before your honor today.”
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, said the prosecution's account wasn’t “100 percent true” and said his client had waived his appearance after the U.S. Marshal Service had expressed it would be difficult to move Kelly from the federal jail, where he has been held without bail since July after being arrested on federal charges of conspiracy and racketeering.
“I don’t want to discuss matters that I have discussed with the U.S. Marshal Service in open court,” Greenberg said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Suffice to say that the Marshal Service said that moving Mr. Kelly is a large undertaking.”
In addition to the federal charges, Kelly is also facing state level charges for allegedly sexually abusing four women, three of whom were minors, in Cook County where he had been scheduled to appear on Thursday.
The hearing went forward despite Kelly's absence, with Gonzales filing a motion to increase his $1 million bail after the additional federal charges were filed in both Chicago and Brooklyn. Last week, Kelly was also charged in Hennepin County, Minnesota with prostitution.
While Greenberg argued that state-level cases are typically put on hold while the defendant faces federal charges, Gonzales said it hadn’t been determined which case would be pursued first.
“We have victims charged under our indictments that are not related to the federal indictments, so we are proceeding as normal right now,” she said.
Cook County Judge Lawrence Flood told the court for the time-being he planned to proceed with the case as normal, WGN reports.
Another status hearing in the case was scheduled for Sept. 17, and this time, Flood said he wanted the singer to appear.
“I’m not going to drag these cases out,” Flood said.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.