CHICAGO (CBS) — A day after he was moved to the general population at the federal lockup in downtown Chicago, R. Kelly is expected back in court on Wednesday to ask a judge to reconsider denying the embattled singer bail while he awaits trial on sexual misconduct and obstruction of justice charges.
Kelly had been placed in the special housing unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center after his arrest on federal charges in Chicago and New York on July 11, but was moved to the general population on Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors had pushed back on Kelly’s claims he was unfairly being held in solitary confinement, writing in court documents that the singer himself had refused a transfer to the general population, and has had a cellmate for weeks, despite initially refusing one.
While the issue of where Kelly will be housed at the federal jail might now be moot, Kelly’s attorneys are still asking a judge to reconsider a ruling that he be held without bail.
Calling the latest allegations against Kelly “as stale as old gym socks,” his defense team has argued he is not a flight risk, and not a danger to the public, and deserves to be granted bail.
“It is clear that Mr. Kelly is being punished because of the crime of which he is charged and because of his celebrity status,” his attorneys wrote in their request for bail.
The singer’s attorneys have noted he did not miss a single court date in more than three years before he was acquitted of child pornography charges in Cook County in 2008, and argued that he could be placed on home monitoring to guarantee he doesn’t miss a court date.
They also said any suggestion he has the means to obstruct any of the witnesses against him “frankly preposterous.”
“Mr. Kelly no longer has the money or the entourage he once did to help him in his endeavors. Home incarceration with close monitoring by pretrial services and limited access to the internet will make it virtually impossible to attempt to contact any witnesses without being caught,” his attorneys wrote.
However, prosecutors have argued that new federal charges in Chicago and New York – on the heels of separate sexual assault charges in Cook County – “amps up the defendant’s incentive to flee.”
In the federal case in Chicago, Kelly faces charges accusing him of producing and receiving child pornography, obstruction of justice, and coercing minors to engage in sex.
The charges also include allegations he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover tapes of him sexually abusing the girl at the center of his 2008 child pornography trial and coerced the victim to lie about what happened.
In the New York case, Kelly is accused of racketeering and Mann Act violations, which involve transporting a person across state lines to engage in illegal sexual activity. The racketeering case also accuses him of kidnapping, sexual exploitation of a child, and forced labor.
“He is now for the very first time facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years’ imprisonment and up to a maximum of 195 years on the Illinois indictment alone. On top of that, New York has a possible sentence of up to 80 years. And that changes everything,” prosecutors wrote.
Federal prosecutors also have argued that home monitoring would not be sufficient to prevent Kelly from trying to influence witnesses against him.
“Defendant could easily obstruct justice from the comfort of his own home even if he has an ankle bracelet, but not so from the MCC where his communications will be monitored,” they wrote.
Even if the judge in the federal case in Chicago were to grant Kelly bail, the judge in the New York case also has denied the singer bond, so his attorneys would face another hurdle to get Kelly set free before his federal trials.
Federal prosecutors and Cook County prosecutors have yet to decide which case will go to trial first. Kelly also faces prostitution charges in Minnesota.