R. Kelly seeks release from jail, cites coronavirus risk

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FILE – In this Sept. 17, 2019 file photo, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. A federal judge in New York City has denied bail to the R&B singer his sex-abuse case. Kelly didn’t attend the hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 2, on a defense motion asking for his release on bond. (Antonio Perez/ via AP Pool, File)

CHICAGO (AP) — Singer R. Kelly has cited the novel coronavirus in asking a federal judge to free him from a federal jail in Chicago as he awaits trial on child pornography and other charges.

A Thursday court filing by his lawyers said scant precautions to stem the spread of the virus behind bars put Kelly’s life at risk. 

The filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago said sanitizer and even soap is hard to come by in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, with most of its 700 inmates held in small, two-man cells that make the kind of social distancing called for to thwart the transmission of COVID-19 impossible.

The visiting floor has hand sanitizer, but a sign next to the single bottle available says, “STAFF ONLY;” and a bathroom on the same floor often has no soap, according to the filing.

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