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EDNY Says Inmate on R.Kelly Floor Tests Positive For COVID in Chicago

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
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FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, April 21 – There was an R.Kelly status conference amid the COVID-19 pandemic on April 16 before U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York Judge Ann M. Donnelly.  Inner City Press live tweeted it, here. More on Patreon here.

 Now on April 21, the prosecutors have written to Judge Donnelly: "Re: United States v. Robert Sylvester Kelly  Criminal Docket No. 19-286 (S-3) (AMD)          Dear Judge Donnelly:   On April 20, 2020, counsel for the defendant Robert Kelly filed a letter with the Court indicating that he had been advised the night before that an inmate on the defendant’s floor “had tested positive for Covid 19 and been taken to the hospital.”  ECF Docket No. 59.  The letter further indicated that “counsel had reached out to the correctional center this morning to verify this information but as of yet have not heard back.”  Id.  Following receipt of defense counsel’s letter, the government forwarded the letter to legal counsel for the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, Illinois (“MCC Chicago”) and sought confirmation regarding whether the information in the letter was accurate.  Yesterday, legal counsel for MCC Chicago confirmed that an inmate on the defendant’s floor had been taken to the hospital and tested positive for COVID-19."

again opposed any release for R.Kelly (amid the release, for example, Tekashi #6ix9ine), stating "it is disingenuous for the defendant to suggest that he has “no means to go anywhere.” (Mot. at 3). He continues to have a significant network of individuals available to assist him. Indeed, many of those individuals attempt to do the defendant’s bidding by regularly posting and appearing in videos on the internet and publishing on social media in support of the defendant and overtly trying to intimidate the defendant’s accusers. Moreover, the defendant still has the financial means to flea and commit obstruction. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, the defendant received over $200,000 in royalty proceeds."

    There was an indefinitely postponement, but for a September jury questionnaire, of R.Kelly's previously scheduled July 7 EDNY trial on charges of racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping and forced labor.

   Judge Donnelly asks if R.Kelly had waived his appearance. His lawyer responded that he spoke to Mr. Kelly who was "despondent." 

 Judge Donnelly replied, Let's keep it simple. Did he waive his appearance?   The defense lawyer said, Yes.

     Judge Donnelly said, I think a July trial is unlikely. 

 A lawyer mused that even if the economy is re-opened, it is questionable if people are going to be willing to serve on juries.  

  Judge Donnelly pointed out, Mr. Kelly has to be arraigned on new charges, by video... I don't want to step on anyone's toes out in Chicago. What about April 30? What about questionnaires on September 14? The defense lawyers don't necessarily have to come.     

R.Kelly's lawyer emphasized, We want the New York case to go first.

    Judge Donnelly continued, So two weeks after the questionnaire.

    Lawyer: The 28th is Yom Kippur. So let's do 29th.

    Judge Donnelly asked, Why have you made your bail application to me, when it's about Illinois? I've asked the US to respond. But I'm curious.

  R.Kelly's lawyer quickly said, We could re-file it in Illinois. We didn't want him to be released in Chicago and then for you to jail him.  

  Judge Donnelly said, That could happen.

 [In fairness to some online replies, the reality is if any defendant is subject to two judges' or jurisdictions' detention orders, if the first orders release, the defendant would still be arrested on the second order unless it is removed.]

   Judge Donnelly continued, Anyway, I've asked the government to respond. Let's just go forward. Anything else we need to do today? 

  Counselor Greenberg said, You mentioned April 30 for arraignment by video, but they're not bringing anyone to the court in Chicago.

    Judge Donnelly said, Here in New York, they're setting up video arraignments. I'll look into it. Stay safe and talk to y'all soon. And that was it. Inner City Press will continue to follow and report on the case. It is US v. Robert Sylvester Kelly, a/k/a R. Kelly, EDNY Docket No. 19-cr-286 (AMD).  More on Patreon here.


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