After an attempt to be released from the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Centre was rebuffed earlier this month, R’n’B singer R. Kelly is back in court, filing another emergency motion seeking early release from prison, this time citing changed circumstances.
Kelly’s first request to be released from the Chicago MCC because of COVID-19 was rejected as there were no recorded cases of the virus at the time. Kelly, in his latest application, notes that the situation has since changed.
“That Mr. Kelly will be infected with this deadly disease, is now unfortunately an absolute probability,” Kelly’s lawyers wrote.
“The only thing the MCC has done is lock things down, making conditions feel more like solitary confinement; and possibly, because of the nature of this virus, locking in healthy inmates with those who already have the virus but who may not yet be symptomatic. The virus has now more than ‘hit home’ at the MCC Chicago,” the motion states.
“With all of that in place, there seems to be no valid reason for this Court not to exercise its discretion for this presumed innocent Defendant, and simply ‘secure his detainment’ in another location, as has been done all over the country for inmates within the federal system,” Kelly’s team wrote.
His legal team noted that there were already 13 known cases of COVID-19 at the correctional institution, with six inmates and seven guards testing positive for the virus which is expected to spread further.
Kelly also claimed since he was one of the most famous people in the US, he did not pose a flight risk, as he “the most obvious and recognizable person on the streets of Chicago, or anywhere else in the country, in light of the severe stay-at-home restrictions.”
He also said that he had no passport and was also afraid to fly.
The I Believe I Can Fly singer usually travels by bus, but during a tour of South Africa in 2013, he claimed that travelling to the African country had cured him.
“It is a long way from home but I love South Africa and you guys have showed me so much love and so I keep coming back.
“Everyone knows I never liked to fly but when you have so much love calling you from across the stage, then you do whatever it takes to receive it. South Africa cured my fear of flying,” he said.
In their response to Kelly, prosecutors said the singer has the means to escape the US and has already made more than $200,000 in royalties just this year.
“There is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed at least five serious crimes while on bail awaiting trial in Cook County.
“Far from suggesting the defendant should be released on bail, a consideration of the defendant’s “history of compliance” leads to the inexorable conclusion already reached by the Court: the defendant is a danger to the community and his release presents a serious risk of obstruction,” prosecutors wrote.