R. Kelly contracts COVID-19 in Prison

Update: R.Kelly’s lead lawyers request to be taken off case ahead of Federal Trial

R. Kelly has contracted COVID-19 while awaiting sentencing in a Brooklyn federal jail for his racketeering conviction.

He faces 10 years to life in prison when he’s sentenced in May.

The singer’s diagnosis has hampered his ability to speak on the phone about his appeal of his conviction, which is due Thursday, said Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, in asking for a two-week extension.

“It is vitally important that Mr. Kelly meaningfully participate in his post-trial defense,” Bonjean wrote in the motion, saying she hoped to communicate with him in an upcoming Zoom call.

Bonjean, a New York-based attorney whose legal career began in Chicago, also noted that Kelly had decided to part ways with his original trial team, but that formal withdrawals were still pending.

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Bonjean said prosecutors did not object to the delay.  U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly granted the extension. The new deadline to file the appeal is now Feb. 17.

Thirty-nine inmates have reportedly contracted the virus at the facility where Kelly is being held.

Kelly, 54, was convicted Sept. 27 on racketeering conspiracy charges, alleging he used his music career to further a criminal enterprise. The jury found him guilty of 12 individual illegal acts, including sex with multiple underage girls as well as a 1994 scheme to bribe an Illinois public aid official to get a phony ID for 15-year-old singer Aaliyah so the two could get married.

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