R. Kelly remains locked up despite jail attack
Kelly isn’t getting out of jail in Chicago for now, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
But he may get a hearing later this month where he will argue that a recent attack on him by another inmate justifies freeing him on bond while he awaits trial on sex-crime charges.
Kelly’s lawyers and prosecutors in the Northern District of Illinois argued via telephone before Judge Harry Leinenweber Wednesday about Kelly’s motion seeking immediate release due to the alleged inability of the federal Bureau of Prisons to protect his safety in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
Leinenweber rejected an immediate release. But he set deadlines for the prosecution and defence lawyers to file briefs on Kelly’s motion for an evidentiary hearing to interrogate under oath MCC officials and the self-acknowledged inmate assailant, Jeremiah Shane Farmer, about the events leading up to Farmer’s attack on Kelly in late August.
Farmer, a convicted felon who’s in the MCC on an unrelated racketeering and drug distribution case, claimed in a handwritten motion that he attacked Kelly because MCC officials encouraged him to do so as a means of getting media attention for his own case. Kelly was not seriously injured in the attack.
As it stands now, prosecutors have until Sept. 21 to file their brief arguing against Kelly’s release – he’s been turned down multiple times so far – and Kelly’s lawyers have until Sept. 28 to file their response.
After that, Judge Leinenweber could hold a hearing to investigate the jail attack, and could possibly grant Kelly’s motion to exit jail while he prepares for trial.
Kelly’s lawyers have been arguing for months that Kelly should be released on bond due to the coronavirus pandemic; now he’s adding personal safety to his list of reasons.
On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in New York rejected Kelly’s latest attempt to get out of jail, issuing a ruling upholding a lower court’s decisions blocking Kelly’s release on the grounds he’s a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Kelly, 53, has been behind bars since last year, awaiting four trials in federal and state courts in three states on multiple sex-crimes charges. His lawyers have been trying to get him out, arguing among other reasons that he’s vulnerable to the COVID-19 disease circulating in federal and state jails.
But the Second Circuit knocked down his lawyers’ arguments.