A United States district court has rejected a request by R&B singer, R. Kelly, to be released from prison custody over the coronavirus pandemic.
Kelly, 53, is currently in detention at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago where he awaits trial for multiple charges, including sexual exploitation of children.
The charges are filed in federal courts in Illinois, Chicago, and New York. He has pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
On March 26, the Grammy award winner, in separate applications in Chicago and New York, asked to be released from custody to avoid contracting the coronavirus which is wreaking havoc in the country.
He had argued that both his age and his recent surgery for hernia put him at a high risk for catching the coronavirus, according to the New York Post.
The ‘Your Body is Calling’ crooner needed approval from both courts to live with his girlfriend, Joycelyn Savage, at her Chicago residence, while awaiting trial.
But Justice Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York, who is presiding over one of the two federal cases against the singer, was not convinced.
Ruling on the application on Tuesday, Donnelly said there had not been any reported cases of COVID-19, among Kelly’s fellow inmates in Chicago, the paper reported.
“While I am sympathetic to the defendant’s understandable anxiety about COVID-19, he has not established compelling reasons warranting his release.
“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,” Donnelly said in her ruling.