R. Kelly’s appeal to be released on bail ahead of his trial was denied by an appeals court Tuesday.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision said prosecutors presented “clear and convincing evidence” that Kelly presents a potential danger to the community and he is a flight risk.
R. Kelly’s attorneys asked for his release from federal custody before the panel of three judges Friday morning, arguing that the singer has been unable to prepare for his upcoming trial for nearly six months.
The singer has not seen his attorneys in person since March, when prisons went into lockdown, cutting off in-person legal visits due to coronavirus concerns, his attorney told CNN. His trial was scheduled to begin at the end of September in federal court in Brooklyn, but was delayed in part due to the pandemic.
His legal team says that because the singer can’t read or write, he can’t review legal documents in his case, make notes, or “meaningfully” communicate with lawyers without in-person meetings.
“He has essentially been cut out of the discovery and preparation process,” attorney Tom Farinella, who argued Kelly’s bail appeal, wrote in a court filing.
This was the sixth time Kelly’s legal team argued for his release since he was taken into federal custody in July 2019. Four of the requests — including Friday’s appeal — were made amid the pandemic, which attorneys argue has put Kelly at risk for developing severe complications from the virus.
Steve Greenberg, an attorney for Kelly, said of the ruling Tuesday, “We are again disappointed.”
“There seems to be a different set of criteria when it comes to R. Kelly,” Greenberg said in a statement to CNN.
Farinella said Tuesday that Kelly’s legal team “will continue to vigorously fight for Mr. Kelly’s vindication.”
A spokesman for the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern of District of New York had no comment on the appeal being denied.
Kelly is facing charges in New York including racketeering and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits trafficking for prostitution or sexual activity. The charges Kelly faces stem from activity that prosecutors say took place over two decades in New York, Connecticut, Illinois and California. Kelly was also indicted on federal charges in Illinois for child pornography and obstruction, as well as state charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Farinella argued that Kelly’s only way of communicating with attorneys is through phone calls that do not “possess the safeguards of confidentiality” needed to have meaningful attorney-client privileged conversations.
“For half the time he’s been incarcerated, he’s not been able to meet with counsel,” Farinella argued before the panel Friday morning. “There’s an extraordinary amount of work that has to go into preparing.”
Farinella added that because the allegations span decades and involve people whose identities are being kept anonymous, Kelly’s input is crucial to the case.