R. Kelly a no-show in Chicago court after ‘refusing transport’

Singer R. Kelly did not appear for a court hearing in Chicago Thursday after declining transport. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Aug. 16 (UPI) — Singer R. Kelly, who faces charges of sex trafficking in New York and Illinois, was a no-show in Chicago court Thursday after prosecutors said he “refused transport” from jail.

The Cook County hearing addressed charges of conspiracy that say the singer set up sexual encounters with underage girls and covered them up to avoid prosecution. The hearing went forward without Kelly.

“The defendant was to be brought to court today. That was all worked out. The sheriffs were going to be bringing him over,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Gonzalez said. “As I understand it, he refused transport and so that is why the defendant is not before your honor.”

Defense attorney Steve Greenberg said U.S. Marshals informed him moving Kelly would have been a “large undertaking.”

The purpose of the hearing was to update the judge on evidence and bail issues.

Prosecutors brought felony charges against Kelly in February. The singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, pleaded not guilty in June.

The judge delayed a ruling on prosecutors’ motion to increase Kelly’s bail by $250,000 for each of the four cases, in light of new federal charges in New York.

“He has to be here,” Flood said. “There’s due process issues.”

Kelly has been in federal custody since his arrest July 11 on 13 counts, some related to child pornography and obstruction of justice. In New York, he faces five charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors in Minnesota also levied charges against Kelly this month, for soliciting a minor in 2001. He has not entered a plea in that case.


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