Federal judge denies R Kelly’s release request

FILE PHOTO - Singer R Kelly has cited the novel coronavirus in asking a federal judge to free him from a federal jail in Chicago. (Source: CNN)

CHICAGO (CNN) - A U.S. district judge has denied singer R Kelly's request to be let out of a federal prison in Chicago due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kelly is currently scheduled to go on trial in New York in July for charges including kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a child.

He also faces sex abuse charges in multiple jurisdictions.

Kelly’s attorney asked last month that he be let out on bail because he had surgery while incarcerated and was at risk of contracting COVID-19.

However, in denying his request for release, the judge said the singer hadn't explained how his surgical history placed him at greater risk of severe illness.

Additionally, she pointed out that there were no confirmed COVID-19 cases at the facility where Kelly is being held.

The judge also rejected his argument that social distancing protocols had inhibited his ability to prepare for his upcoming trial. She noted Kelly spoke with his attorneys on the phone as recently as March 18.

The judge also said it was unlikely that Kelly’s case would start on July 7 as scheduled.

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