Convicted sex offender R. Kelly has been placed on suicide watch due to the “emotional distress” of his current situation as he begins a 30-year sentence for sex trafficking, according to US authorities.
The disgraced R&B star criticized the decision, accusing federal authorities of punishing him because of his “high-profile” status.
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, will spend three decades in prison after using his fame to sexually assault young fans.
The 55-year-old was found guilty of racketeering and trafficking after a high-profile trial in New York in September 2021, which came after years of accusations throughout his career.
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjian, filed a lawsuit Friday alleging that prison officials placed him under suicide watch at the Brooklyn Detention Center “solely for punitive purposes and because of his status as a high-profile inmate.”
She claimed the former star had no intention of harming himself and that “nothing happened during the sentencing that was a surprise to Mr Kelly”.
Kelly’s case also stated that: “While suicidal monitoring conditions may be appropriate for individuals who are truly at risk of self-harm, they are cruel and unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment for individuals who are not suicidal .”
In response, the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn filed court documents late Saturday confirming that Kelly remains under suicide watch, but disputed his claim that it was punishment and said the decision was made “for his own safety” after a psychological evaluation.
Court documents say Kelly failed to explain how being on the suicide watch list would in any way cause him “irreparable mental harm” apart from his general incarceration.
Assistant US Attorney Melanie Speight wrote: [Kelly’s] “current life circumstances undoubtedly bring emotional stress … he is a convicted sex offender who has been sentenced to spend the next three decades in prison.”
Kelly also faces another federal criminal trial in Chicago on charges related to child pornography.
Kelly did not make a statement or react when he heard his sentence last month, which included a $100,000 (£82,500) fine.
The Grammy-winning, multi-platinum-selling songwriter has denied any wrongdoing and said he plans to appeal his conviction.
The US Bureau of Prisons is under increased scrutiny from a financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself behind bars in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges he sexually assaulted 14-year-old girls and young women in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.
In June, Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her involvement in recruiting young girls for her ex-boyfriend.
R. Kelly observed suicide “for his own safety” and not as a form of punishment, US authorities say | Ents & Arts News
Source link R. Kelly observed suicide “for his own safety” and not as a form of punishment, US authorities say | Ents & Arts News