By Sharon Washington
R&B Singer R. Kelly was denied bond at his court hearing in Chicago on Tuesday, July 16. Prosecutors argued that Kelly is a flight risk and granting him bail would pose a serious threat to the community and victims. Further reasoning posed that the singer has the potential to use his fame and power to obstruct justice.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber made the ruling, after Kelly was arrested last week on federal charges in both Illinois and New York. The singer pleaded not guilty on all 13 counts in the federal indictment.
Prosecutors say that the charges Kelly face have strengthened since his child pornography charge in 2008. They confirm that they have two additional videos to prove that Kelly produced, featured and aided in child pornography. They have the addition of cooperative victims and witnesses as well.
They described the videos where Kelly asks the underage girl(s) to call him “daddy” and verbally state, more than 15 times, that her genital parts were “14-years-old” as being hard to watch.
The matter worsened when the topic of his first marriage with, at the time, 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah surfaced, a marriage that Kelly has refused to legally discuss in court hearings, acknowledging only his second marriage with one of his hired dancers.
Prosecutors argued his clear physical attraction to young girls made the opportunity of bail a serious risk even if the defendant were granted home detention, continuing to make their point by saying that electronic monitoring doesn’t do enough to keep victims, and the public safe.
The prosecutors discussed how the arrest of Kelly’s business managers Derrell McDavid and Milton ‘June’ Brown were followed with bail grants although the arrests were due to their aiding and abetting Kelly’s crimes. They added that Kelly’s employees were in tandem with the instructions of Kelly despite the fact that the singer himself cannot read nor write.
The prosecutors framed their argument so stably that one could not logically consider granting the defendant’s motion of granting bail.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, did not present the strongest rebuttal. Stating that Kelly has no criminal record and that he is out of money, without financial resources to depart the country, should prove that he has no interest in abandoning his legal responsibilities.
Despite the daunting opposing prosecution argument, Greenberg went on to express Kelly’s history of compliance in his legal accusations and troubles. His persuasion in regard to Kelly as a flight risk relied on the implication that although Kelly’s number one song is “I Believe I Can Fly,” the defendant does not like to fly and prefers to travel by van instead. His attorney voiced that the majority of Kelly’s actions were done following his legal direction.
Following the plea of the singer’s means to flee, his experience and comfortability in jail was discussed. Greenberg detailed that Kelly has been placed in a Special Housing Unit, known as the “SHU,” where he is limited to one 15-minute phone call a day. He is further isolated because his notoriety attracts too much attention in the jail, so he is unable to join in day room activities. Since Kelly cannot read or write the presence of books and notepads aren’t of much use to him in his unit either.
Leinenweber confirmed that there is no statute of limitations on the crime of the sexual assault of minors which dictates that even if the defendant’s crimes are years old, they are still crimes that are able to result in punishment to this present day.
In the courtroom on Tuesday were Kelly’s two girlfriends, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, who were featured in the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary that aired on the Lifetime network earlier this year. Seated next to them were Kelly’s family, friends and supporters. No public display of emotion was expressed after the judge made the decision to deny bail.
Kelly had been free on a $1 million bond, but was arrested on Thursday, July 11, and is now being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.