R. Kelly will have to stay in jail longer as trial is postponed
Judge pushes the disgraced singer's trial back, a few days after denying him release amidst COVID-19 concerns
Singer R. Kelly will wait behind bars even longer as his sex-trafficking and racketeering trial in New York has been postponed until the end of September.
On Thursday, Judge Ann Donnelly set the new trial date for Sept. 29 when jury selection will begin, John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York, told CNN. Kelly will be arraigned via videoconference on the most recent New York indictment on April 30, Marzulli added.
Prior to the rescheduling, Kelly’s trial was slated to begin on July 7.
Kelly’s charges in New York accuse him of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits the crime of sex trafficking across state boundaries. Kelly has also been charged by the U.S. Northern District of Illinois of child pornography and other child sex offenses.
He is being held in prison without bail and denies all charges.
Kelly’s legal team and prosecutors are hoping that even with the rescheduled date, the New York trial precedes the singer’s trial in Chicago, which is currently scheduled for October, reported CNN.
The rescheduled New York court date comes a little more than a week after Donnelly turned down a motion where Kelly asked to be temporarily freed from prison and released to home confinement over fears of contracting the novel coronavirus. His lawyers argued that he is 53 and as a result, may be more susceptible to contracting the disease.
However, Donnelly ruled that Kelly is a flight risk and should remain behind bars.
“The defendant is currently in custody because of the risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses,” Donnelly wrote. “The defendant has not explained how those risks have changed.”
Donnelly added that the COVID-19 pandemic was not reason enough to free him from prison.