“While I am sympathetic to the defendant’s understandable anxiety about COVID-19, he has not established compelling reasons warranting his release,” the judge wrote in her decision.
Last month, Kelly accused prison officials at the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center of only taking “scant precautions” against the spread of the virus. Furthermore, the 53-year-old claimed his age put him at a heightened risk for COVID-19
“At present, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the MCC in Chicago,” Donnelly wrote in her decision. “The Bureau of Prisons has announced emergency measures to protect inmates and staff, including suspending all legal and social visits, suspending inmate facility transfers, making soap available to inmates, screening and testing inmates and staff and modifying operations at detention facilities like the MCC to maximize social distancing.”
The judge also dismissed Kelly’s concerns related to his age, noting that he’s actually 12 years younger than 65, which is the age group the CDC has deemed as vulnerable.
Kelly also argued that his previous surgery put him at risk. However, Donnelly stated “he does not explain how his surgical history places him at a higher risk of severe illness.”
“[Kelly] is currently in custody because of the risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses,” she continued. “The defendant has not explained how those risks have changed.”
Prior to the pandemic, Kelly was set to go to trial in Brooklyn for separate racketeering charges on July 7. His federal trial in Chicago for child pornography and obstruction of justice charges is currently set for Oct. 13. According to TMZ, due to his limited communication with his legal team, Kelly’s Brooklyn trial will likely be postponed.