R. Kelly refused to leave his jail cell on Thursday, getting marked as a “no-show” for a scheduled court appearance and then drawing a rebuke from the judge.
The accused sex trafficker was scheduled to appear in the Cook County court for a pretrial hearing that would give an update on evidence for the trial and the singer’s bail situation, but NBC News reported that he “refused transport” and instead stayed in his cell. Jennifer Gonzalez, the Cook County assistant state’s attorney, told the court that sheriff’s deputies were all set to pick up Kelly from his jail cell and transport him to the court, but he simply said no.
“As I understand it, he refused transport and so that is why the defendant is not before your honor today,” Gonzales said.
R. Kelly’s defense lawyers said that her assessment was not completely true, but did not offer any more explanation as to why Kelly was not in the court room. But Steve Greenberg, Kelly’s defense attorney, did say there were some difficulties in moving him.
“I don’t want to discuss matters that I discussed with the U.S. Marshals Service in open court,” Greenberg said. “Suffice it to say, the Marshal Service says that moving Mr. Kelly is a large undertaking.”
R. Kelly’s absence appeared to draw a rebuke from Cook County Judge Lawrence Flood, who had demanded to know why the singer was not in the court and then issued a warning that he would have another court date in a few weeks.
“We’ll have Mr. Kelly here then,” Judge Flood said.
R. Kelly is being held on a string of sexual trafficking charges, facing charges in Illinois and New York, as well as newly filed charges in Minnesota. Greenberg said that the situation has been quite hard on the singer, who is not at all used to jail and having a very difficult time with life behind bars.
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“I’ve seen him get very emotional,” he said, per The Chicago Sun Times. “He’s dealing with a lot of stories that have been made up. He’s not a fighter. I’ve seen him cry when he talks about the situation.”
Greenberg added that being placed in solitary confinement, where R. Kelly is being held for his own safety, has been particularly hard because he is used to being surrounded by people.
R. Kelly is due back in court again on September 17.