R. Kelly’s New York trial has been postponed due to Coronavirus-related delays. According to CNN, the embattled singer’s upcoming trial will now take place in late September, rather than its initial July 7 date.
US District Judge for New York Ann Donnelly reportedly set the rescheduled trial date on Thursday (April 17), also announcing that jury selection will begin on Sept. 29. In New York, Kelly faces racketeering charges and alleged violations of the Mann Act, which forbids sex trafficking across state lines.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” artist is currently being held without bail in a Chicago jail, where he faces additional charges of sexual misconduct and child pornography. His Chicago trial is still set to take place this October.
Kelly previously attempted to be released from prison to home confident in order to evade the potential health threats of COVID-19. Last Tuesday (April 7), Donnelly denied the singer’s request, saying that while she was “sympathetic to [his] understandable anxiety,” he had not “established compelling reasons warranting his release.”
“At present, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the MCC in Chicago,” the judge 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.”
Donnelly also cited Kelly’s “consistent pattern” of intimidating witnesses.
“[Kelly] is currently in custody because of the risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses,” she wrote. “The defendant has not explained how those risks have changed.”
After Donnelly denied his request, Kelly also asked federal prosecutors for early release. Prosecutors will reportedly give their decision later today (April 17).