‘Overweight’ R. Kelly is ‘likely diabetic,’ lawyer says in latest bid to get singer freed over COVID-19 fears

Recent medical tests reveal the extent of the singer’s poor health, attorney Steve Greenberg says.

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R. Kelly holds a card and a rose he received from fans as he leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in March 2019 after a hearing in his sex abuse case.

Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images

No Rx for R. Kelly … yet.

Singer R. Kelly, who is being held at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center — where COVID-19 is taking up residence and where Kelly is awaiting trial on numerous sexual abuse charges — has been told he may have a deadly appetizer favored by the virus: diabetes.

That diagnosis was delivered to the R&B superstar Thursday after the results of an initial test were revealed to him, his Chicago attorney Steve Greenberg told Sneed.

“I was able to speak to Robert [Kelly] through a specially arranged phone call, and he is now awaiting confirmation he may have diabetes,” Greenberg said.

The singer broke down during the conversation.

“He has been experiencing panic attacks,” Greenberg said. “ ... He is petrified. He is convinced he is going to die while in pretrial detention.”

Greenberg spoke with Sneed before he made another bid for Kelly’s release on bail to a federal judge Friday in New York, where he also faces criminal charges. The letter laid out his health situation as “likely diabetic” after a test “reveals that he is 1/10 of one point below diabetic.” Kelly also suffers from high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and is “overweight,” the letter notes.

The American Diabetes Association says that while those with diabetes aren’t more likely to come down with the novel coronavirus, they have “much higher rates of serious complications and death than people without diabetes.”

Greenberg blasted officials for not letting the singer know of his condition sooner.

“The test results came back a month ago but the jail withheld that information from him,” he said. “He is now waiting for confirmation.”

Greenberg has repeatedly called for the release of Kelly from the tight quarters of the downtown prison.

“The conditions they have these people in are inhumane. They are people who have not been convicted of anything and they are sitting in there and just waiting and wondering when they are going to get sick,” Greenberg said.

He said his client has remained in his cell for nearly a month, only venturing out for his weekly phone call.

“At best they [the inmates] are allowed out 15 minutes a day, if they want to be out, but then they have to interact with everyone else,” he tells Sneed.

“There is no exercise; inmates who are infected are not separated until it is far too late; inmates who are infected are allowed to handle the food and serve others. The disease-ridden shared the same telephones, the same computers, the same showers and toilets as others,” he added.

The Sun-Times reported on the inconsistencies in the COVID-19 numbers at the MCC last month claiming it’s been unclear exactly how the Bureau of Prisons is tabulating the coronavirus cases.

“As has been reported, that jail has been misrepresenting or outright lying about the health conditions,” added Greenberg.

“The jail hasn’t had adequate testing so they don’t really know what is going on,” he said. “The numbers reported swing wildly. ... Their lack of knowledge and accuracy places everyone, inmates and staff, at extraordinary risk.”

On Thursday, the Bureau of Prisons reported its largest single-day jump by far in inmate coronavirus cases in Chicago’s downtown federal jail, disclosing that 48 of the more than 600 people being held there have tested positive for the virus.

Until that report, the bureau had consistently reported lower numbers than officials on the ground, including prosecutors and defense attorneys. As of Wednesday, prosecutors had said that 33 inmates had already tested positive.

“We are treating the accused as if we are a third-world nation,” said Greenberg. “It is un-American.”

Officials with the Bureau of Prisons did not respond to a request for comment.

Pew whew!

Click. Click. Snapshot!

Dozens of beeping autos lined up and buzzed past Christ (Episcopal) Church in Winnetka Thursday afternoon wishing their popular rector, Christopher Powell, a happy “COVID-era style” 61st birthday. Playing catch with cards tossed from car windows, a masked Powell had a field day catching paper greetings and a gentle open window hand-off of a homemade birthday cake.


Rector Christopher Powell collecting his birthday cards.

Provided photo


Sneedlings . . .

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s deadpan expressions in her brilliant COVID-19 TV videos are reminiscent of the legendary frozen-faced comedian Buster Keaton! So much fun to watch. . . . Saturday’s birthdays: David Beckham, 45; Paul George, 30; and Donatella Versace, 65. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Eric Church, 43; Frankie Valli, 86; and Cheryl Burke, 36. . . . Monday’s birthdays: Father & son: Steve and Ti Greenberg; ageless and priceless. You choose.

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