R. Kelly is denying claims that he refused to show up in court for a pretrial hearing in Chicago on Thursday.
As TheGrio previously reported, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Gonzalez stated to NBC News that the embattled singer “refused transport” from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown, where he’s awaiting trial on a number of sexual abuse crimes. The hearing is a routine part of the evidentiary process, and was still held before Cook County Judge Lawrence Flood, despite Kelly not being present.
His lawyer, however, said the claim that R .Kelly refused transport is “not 100-percent true.” Attorney Steve Greenberg is putting the blame squarely on the State’s Attorney, noting that “nobody came to get” Kelly when it was time for his court appearance.
“He’s in federal custody and it’s incumbent on the state to get him to Cook County… I can’t drive over in my Maserati and pick him up and they didn’t do it,” Greenberg tells Billboard. “They claimed he refused to come when nobody came to get him. What they said was just not true. It was the State’s Attorney lying to cover up their own screw-up over the fact that they didn’t get him.”
Kelly has been behind bars for more than a month on racketeering and child pornography charges in New York and Illinois. He was also recently hit with two counts of underage prostitution in Minnesota.
Kellz has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the sexual misconduct charges against him in Chicago, which include more than two dozen federal sex crime charges as well as charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation in New York. The 40 counts he’s facing carry a combined maximum prison sentence of more than 500 years, according to the Associated Press.
“Saying he refused to transport is a lie,” says Greenberg. “I told them that he didn’t want to come… there was no reason to bring him and he didn’t want to come. He didn’t want to go through all that. I also told them that the Marshall’s service didn’t want to go through the hassle and everyone was fine with that.”
Greenberg says if an official from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office had shown up to get R. Kelly he would have appeared in court.
“Because of who he is you have to put extra manpower on it,” he says of the additional precautions that are required for this high-profile case. “You can move a normal guy in a regular van, but with him you have to have a car in front and behind and extra guys to get him into the building because he’s not just some nameless, faceless guy who can just walk into the courtroom.”
When asked how his client is holding up in jail, Greenberg said: “he’s not happy… he’s in jail and he would like to get out of jail because he’s accused of all kinds of things that aren’t true.”
The next status hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 17.