It’s been about five months since R. Kelly was found guilty of his racketeering and sex trafficking charges and sentenced to eight years in prison, but he’s been behind bars without bail since his 2019 arrest. That means the disgraced R&B has spent the entirety of the pandemic in jail — and he’s just now tested positive for COVID-19.
Kelly caught COVID while in a federal jail in Brooklyn, according to a report from Rolling Stone. While his attorneys haven’t given an update on the status of the singer’s health, a judge did grant him an important extension due to his positive COVID test. US District Judge Ann M. Donnelly ruled on Tuesday that Kelly can have an extra two weeks to file an appeal in his federal racketeering case. That means he has until February 17 to formally fight his September conviction which found him guilty of all eight counts of child sex trafficking and one count of federal racketeering.
Kelly’s new lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean informed the court of the singer’s COVID status, saying it interfered with his ability to participate in his appeal. “It is vitally important that Mr. Kelly meaningfully participate in his post-trial defense,” Bonjean wrote in an official letter to the court. “The (jail) has not indicated when visits will resume which is less than ideal, but undersigned counsel is confident that she can accomplish necessary discussions with Mr. Kelly via upcoming scheduled Zoom visits.”