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R. Kelly’s lawyers ask judge to postpone his New York sex trafficking trial

The singer’s legal team said his COVID-19 quarantine has prevented them from preparing for his Aug. 9 court date.

R. Kelly Getty Images

R. Kelly’s legal team is attempting to have his Aug. 9 New York trial date postponed, arguing that they haven't had time to prepare for his case since he’s been quarantined in jail. According to the Associated Press, the disgraced R&B star has been under a mandatory two-week jail quarantine since transferring to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center from his Chicago prison, as is required by COVID-19 protocols.

In a letter on Monday (July 5) addressed to U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, Kelly’s attorney Deveraux Cannick said he’s given a “herculean effort” to meet with the singer. However, he claims that Kelly’s quarantine, which ends today (July 6), has made that difficult. Cannick also said Kelly’s new lawyers haven’t been able to prepare with him for the upcoming court date due to the quarantine.

“Robert is anxious to have his day in court; however not at the expense of his Sixth Amendment rights,” Cannick wrote in the letter.

The attorney also complained about potentially having to meet with Kelly at the Brooklyn jail in front of other lawyers and inmates, writing, “The nature of the evidence here does not lend itself to open frank discussions in such an environment.”

So far, federal prosecutors have not responded to the letter and Judge Donnelly has yet to announce her ruling.

Kelly’s Aug. 9 court date will mark the beginning of his sex trafficking trial in New York City. The 54-year-old is accused of using his managers, bodyguards and employees to recruit women and underage girls for sex. Federal prosecutors claim Kelly’s staff picked up women and girls at his concerts and arranged for their travel to see Kelly.

He has maintained his innocence amidst federal charges in both New York and Chicago, which include child sexual exploitation, child pornography production, kidnapping, forced labor, racketeering and obstruction of justice.

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