By Andrew Irumba
USA: R. Kelly missed a pre-trial court hearing in his sexual abuse case in Chicago, Illinois after apparently refusing transportation from jail.
The R&B superstar was due to appear in court on Thursday and is facing several state and federal charges of sexual abuse and associated offenses in Illinois, New York, and Minnesota, which he denies.
However, he did not appear – frustrating prosecutors and the presiding judge – who continued the hearing without him.
Judge Lawrence Flood told Kelly’s lead defense lawyer Steve Greenberg “He (Kelly) has to be here”, with the star’s lawyer denying his client had refused transport to the courtroom.
Accusing the I Believe I Can Fly hit maker of declining transport, prosecutor Jennifer Gonzalez said: “The defendant was to be brought to court today. That was all worked out. The sheriffs were going to be bringing him over. As I understand it, he refused transport and so that is why the defendant is not before your honor today.”
Green-berg said that characterization was not “not 100 per cent true” and explained that U.S. Marshals had said that moving Kelly rom his cell at Chicago’s Metropolitan Corrections Center was a “large undertaking”.
The charges he faces include sexual assault, abuse of a minor, making indecent images of minors, racketeering and obstruction of justice.
Kelly is being tried in Illinois first, and his next court date in Chicago is 17 September 2019.