by Linda Ikeji
Grammy Award winning singer, R. Kelly’s attorneys will ask for his release from prison when they go to an appeals court on Friday September 4, arguing that the singer has been unable to prepare for his upcoming trial for nearly six months.
R.Kelly has not seen his attorneys in person since March, when prisons went into lockdown.
He also isn’t allowed to have in-person legal visits due to coronavirus concerns, his attorney told CNN.
His trial, scheduled to start at the end of September in federal court in Brooklyn, has been delayed due to the pandemic.
According to Kelly’s lawyers, the singer can’t read or write, can’t review legal documents in his case, make notes or “meaningfully” communicate with lawyers without in-person meetings.
“He has essentially been cut out of the discovery and preparation process,” attorney Tom Farinella wrote in a court filing.
Kelly’s legal team’s argument on Friday will be the sixth time he has argued for his release since he was taken into federal custody in July 2019.
His attorneys argue that being in federal prison puts Kelly at risk of developing severe complications from Coronavirus.
Kelly is facing charges in New York including racketeering and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits trafficking for prostitution or sexual activity.
The charges Kelly faces stem from activity that allegedly took place over two decades in New York, Connecticut, Illinois and California.
He is also being indicted on federal charges in Illinois for child pornography and obstruction, as well as state charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Kelly’s attorney Farinella argues that Kelly’s only way of communicating with attorneys is through phone calls that do not “possess the safeguards of confidentiality” needed to have meaningful attorney-client privileged conversations.
But Prosecutors say releasing Kelly would be dangerous because he is a flight risk, a danger to the community and because he has a history of tampering with witnesses and jurors.
According to prosecutors R.Kelly has access to money even though his defence team say he has “almost no liquid financial resources,”
But prosecutors contradict that point of view saying say the singer has received over $200,000 in royalty proceeds in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
Prosecutors also say if Kelly is released to his home in Chicago, he’d be out of the jurisdiction of the Eastern District of New York which will make it legal for him to remove his electronic monitoring device.
Prosecutors believe if he removes the device or tampers with it, law enforcement’s response would not be instantaneous.
Prosecutors also say because people are wearing masks in public due to Coronavirus, Kelly could easily conceal his face “thereby going unrecognized.”