R. Kelly’s lawyer has requested an early release for the R&B singer as he awaits sentencing in Chicago, while Coronavirus sweeps the nation. In an 18-page filing, his attorney alleges that Kelly’s Metropolitan Correctional Center has only taken “scant precautions” to ensure the accused sexual predator’s safety amidst the pandemic and cited that his health conditions put him at risk if he contracts the disease.
“The health risk to Mr. Kelly, because of his age and existing health issues, especially considering the conditions at the MCC, necessitates his release on bail,” Kelly’s lawyer’s filing reads, according to CBS. “The courts have long recognized that there is no greater necessity than keeping a defendant alive, no matter the charge.”
Kelly’s lawyer further claims that the prison has limited rations of hand sanitizer and soap and that the majority of the facility’s 700 inmates are confined to small two-person cells, deterring any efforts of social distancing.
Kelly is not the only imprisoned celebrity to be attempting release amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Bill Cosby’s legal team is reportedly “considering filing a motion” to have the court release Cosby to home confinement. Cosby’s spokesperson Andrew Wyatt cited his client’s old age and health issues as reasons for concern during an interview with New York Daily News.
“Mr. Cosby is elderly and blind and always needs to be escorted around the prison by support service inmates,” Wyatt said. “Prisons and jails around the country are becoming infested with coronavirus cases, and it’s only a matter of time before Mr. Cosby’s prison likely falls victim to the virus.”
Furthermore, this week Tekashi 6ix9ine attempted to be released to house arrest, referencing his asthma as a potential Coronavirus health risk. However, Judge Engelmeyer denied his request, saying that the court did not have the authority to grant him home confinement.
“At the time of sentencing... the Court did not know and could not have known that the final four months of Mr. Hernandez’s sentence would be served at a time of a worldwide pandemic...” Engelmeyer wrote in his decision. “Had the Court known that sentencing Mr. Hernandez... would have exposed him to a heightened health risk, the Court would have directed that these four months be served instead in home confinement,”
Kelly is currently awaiting his October 13 trial for child pornography and several other charges.