R. Kelly missed a pre-trial court hearing in his sexual abuse case in Chicago, Illinois on Thursday after apparently refusing transportation from jail.

The R&B superstar is facing several state and federal charges of sexual abuse and associated offences 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.

According to the BBC, Judge Lawrence Flood told Kelly's lead defence 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 hitmaker 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 honour today."

Greenberg said that characterisation was "not 100 per cent true" and explained that U.S. Marshals had said that moving Kelly from 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 for 17 September.