R. Kelly has petitioned for his release from prison, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which recently had an outbreak across the Chicago prison system, where he is currently being detained on various criminal charges, including alleged sexual assault. Kelly, who is currently awaiting trial on these charges, denies claims that he is a “flight risk,” for this upcoming trial, citing massive debt to the IRS.
While the performer has made $200,000 in royalty payments this year, he claims that he is $11.8 billion in debt to the IRS’ tax collectors. His defense claims that this money goes to his various agents and managers, among other financial losses.
“The monies the Government claims Mr. Kelly has access to are not the kind of funds that would present an opportunity to flee, let alone live a life covertly in exile,” Kelly’s attorney Michael Leonard states in a letter submitted to the court April 19th. “It similarly ignores the fact that the current environment of restricted traveling commercial activities would make it that much more difficult than before, and albeit impossible for a celebrity like Mr. Kelly, to flee from prosecution.”
Kelly is also currently facing charges in a Brooklyn federal court, and local courts in Cook County, Illinois, and in Hennepin County, Minnesota, where he faces additional charges of child prostitution.
Much of the sexual assault allegations that were brought against Kelly are featured in the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. The performer received many of these charges after the docuseries was broadcast on cable television and streaming platforms.