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R. Kelly loses bid for temporary prison release due to COVID-19 fears

A federal judge on Tuesday that R. Kelly had not established compelling reasons to be granted temporary release from prison due to the COVID-19 outbreak saying he was not among those at greatest risk from the virus and remains a flight risk.  File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
A federal judge on Tuesday that R. Kelly had not established "compelling reasons" to be granted temporary release from prison due to the COVID-19 outbreak saying he was not among those at greatest risk from the virus and remains a flight risk.  File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 7 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Tuesday denied R. Kelly's request to be released from federal custody due to fears concerning the COVID-19 outbreak.

New York District Judge Ann M. Donnelly ruled that the singer, born Robert Kelly, hadn't convinced the court to grant his temporary release as there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, where he is being held.

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"While I am sympathetic to the defendant's understandable anxiety about COVID-19, he has not established compelling reasons warranting his release," Donnelly wrote.

Kelly, 53, cited a recent surgery during his time in prison as a condition for his release but Donnelly said he did not explain how the procedure places him at a greater risk of illness.

Donnelly added that Kelly remains a flight risk as he awaits trial on various federal charges in New York and Illinois.

"The defendant is currently in custody because of the risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses. The defendant has not explained how those risks have changed," the ruling added.

Kelly has been in federal custody since his arrest July 11 on 13 counts in Illinois, some related to child pornography and obstruction of justice. In New York, he faces five charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child.

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Prosecutors in Minnesota have also levied charges against Kelly for soliciting a teenager in 2001.

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