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R Kelly's release bid denied again

District Judge Ann Donnelly highlighted the fact Illinois prosecutors have accused Kelly of witness tampering during his child pornography case so insisted it would be too risky to let him out of jail.

R&B singer R Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building following a hearing on 26 June 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Picture: AFP

LONDON - A judge has again rejected R. Kelly's request to be released from prison on bail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ignition hitmaker was recently denied bail when he asked to be released from Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Centre - where he is being held on charges that include sex trafficking, racketeering and child pornography - amid the coronavirus pandemic but filed another emergency motion for release after claiming the threat of contracting the virus had grown.

Kelly and his legal team argued that when he first asked to be let out, the court noted there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at MCC Chicago where he is being held, but that has now changed, and while the judge acknowledged the disease has now spread at the facility, she ruled his motion for release on bond didn't show enough evidence that the _Trapped in the Closet _star is at unique risk of contracting coronavirus.

District Judge Ann Donnelly highlighted the fact Illinois prosecutors have accused Kelly of witness tampering during his child pornography case so insisted it would be too risky to let him out of jail.

She wrote: "The defendant maintains that any risk can be mitigated through a combination of measures imposed on his release, including restrictions on social media, internet and telephone use. Given the pandemic, where the judicial system's oversight capabilities are curtailed, these measures simply are not viable -- they cannot ensure that a defendant with a history, incentive and opportunity to interfere with potential witnesses will not do so"

In his motion, the I Believe I Can Fly singer had insisted he was too recognisable to be a fight risk.

His legal documents stated: "[Kelly is] the most obvious and recognisable person on the streets of Chicago, or anywhere else in the country, in light of the severe stay-at-home restrictions."

Kelly had also insisted he will agree to 24/7 surveillance and GPS monitoring to make sure he doesn't go anywhere other than home or meet with anyone other than his lawyers.