Posted: Jul 5, 2021 / 7:14 PM EDTUpdated: July 5, 2021 / 7:20 PM EDT
FILE – In this September 17, 2019 file photo, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly signaled Thursday, June 17, 2021 that the jailed R&B singer is likely to keep his new defense team for his sex trafficking trial, despite questions about his attorney’s communication with one of Kelly’s ex-girlfriends. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)
NEW YORK (AP) – R. Kelly’s new attorneys are asking a judge to postpone his sex trafficking trial in New York City on August 9, on the grounds that they did not have enough time to prepare because he has been on his transfer of . Chicago is under mandatory prison quarantine.
In a letter Monday to U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, attorney Deveraux Cannick wrote that Kelly’s 14-day quarantine, which ended Tuesday, exacerbated what Cannick said was a “herculean effort” to get rid of after being hired on Jan. June to get up to date.
Cannick argued in the letter that Kelly’s new attorney was unable to meet him in person because of the quarantine and that the proposed continuation of the R&B star’s trial would deprive him of effective and meaningful representation.
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was quarantined when he arrived from Chicago at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn on June 22, where he was held on similar charges. Tuesday will mark 14 days since Kelly was transferred to Brooklyn.
“Robert desperately wants to have his day in court; but not at the expense of his Sixth Amendment rights, ”Cannick wrote, saying the request was not a delaying tactic.
The federal prosecutor had not responded to Cannick’s request by Monday evening and declined to comment. Donnelly has yet to decide on the filing.
Federal prisons have quarantined relocated and newly incarcerated inmates since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of protocols to prevent the spread of the disease.
Kelly, 54, is accused of running a company made up of his managers, bodyguards, and other employees who helped him recruit women and girls for sex. According to federal prosecutors, the group selected victims at concerts and other venues and arranged a trip to Kelly for them. The Grammy-winning singer denies ever abusing anyone.
Cannick said that once Kelly’s quarantine ends and he can meet his lawyers, they will be forced to jockey one of a limited number of conference rooms in Brooklyn Prison. If there was no room, he wrote, they would have to meet Kelly at a table next to other lawyers and inmates.
“The type of evidence here does not lend itself to open discussion in such an environment,” wrote Cannick.
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