R. Kelly’s lawyers said the jail he’s being held put few precautions in place to prevent the spread the coronavirus, but a judge denied the request for him to be let out early.
As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the United States, multiple high-profile criminals and accused criminals have asked to be let out of prisons early.
COVID-19 has infected millions of people worldwide and has wreaked havoc on US prisons. Counties and states have started releasing hundreds of inmates from jails and prisons, and the federal prison system has followed suit.
Public health and corrections officials have issued warnings over current prison conditions and the possibility of COVID-19 spreading in such facilities, and the Bureau of Prisons has released more than 2,400 high-risk inmates to home confinement.
In the meantime, some well-known inmates — including singer R. Kelly and Fyre Festival’s Billy McFarland — have asked to be released citing concerns of the virus and, in some cases, long-lasting health problems.
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, had requests to leave prison early denied on May 15. The judge who made the ruling called Kelly a “flight risk.”
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, is the latest high-profile inmate to be released.
The 71-year-old, who was convicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 investigation, cited his age and preexisting health conditions in his request for release, saying he could be at a higher risk for COVID-19 symptoms.
Michael Avenatti, who was in jail awaiting his sentencing hearing on a conviction of trying to extort Nike, has also been released. Avenatti cited a history of pneumonia and “unsanitary and disease-prone conditions” as to why he wanted to be released to home confinement.
Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine was one of the first high-profile inmates to be released. He cited his asthma, which puts him at higher health risk for COVID-19, as a reason to spend the rest of his sentence at home, where he made a music video and began a feud with a charity.
Cohen, too, was set to be released, according to his lawyer, though sources told ABC News that the offer had been rescinded.
At least one other high-profile inmate — a parent who pleaded guilty in the college admissions scandal — has also already been released, but many others will likely remain behind bars.
Here are some of the most high-profile inmates asking to be released.