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R. Kelly Removed From Suicide Watch At Brooklyn Jail After Filing Lawsuit
R. Kelly's lawyer Jennifer Bonjean says her clients rights were violated by federal authorities who placed him on suicide watch.
R. Kelly has been removed from suicide watch at a federal jail in Brooklyn, but not before his high-profile attorney filed suit against federal authorities alleging the singer had been wrongly placed on the watch following his sentencing last week for a range of crimes.
“R. Kelly is not suicidal,”Jennifer Bonjean tweeted on Friday. “He was in fine spirits after his sentencing hearing and ready to fight his appeal.”
She added that “placing him on suicide watch was punitive conduct by the” Bureau of Prisons.
By Friday evening, she filed a lawsuit on Kelly's behalf seeking $100 million dollars.
The lawsuit claims that Kelly was subjected to "cruel and unusual punishment" and that he had his 8th Amendment rights violated.
It seeks “compensatory damages for all emotional distress, humiliation, pain and suffering, and other harm in an amount to be determined at trial.”
Bonjean even claimed that the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Kelly is being held, “is being run like a gulag.”
The lawyer alleges that high-profile clients, like Kelly and convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell, who is also held at MDC, are often put on suicide watch when they don’t need to be.
Donald Murphy, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons, told NBC News on Friday that he could not specifically address Kelly's situation but stated that “the BOP is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all inmates in our population, our staff and the public.”
The Bureau of Prisons removed Kelly from suicide watch on Tuesday, Law&Crime reports. Prosecutors state that his lawsuit is moot now that he's been removed from suicide watch.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly had sentenced Kelly, 55, to 30 years in prison on Wednesday for sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, racketeering and sex trafficking.
Throughout Kelly’s trial, prosecutors detailed how Kelly had sexually abused numerous young women and men, some of whom were underage, over a nearly two-decade period. Furthermore, they said he'd led an enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who recruited the victims for him while giving them false hope that he’d help them with their entertainment careers.
The singer also faces separate state sex crimes trials in Illinois and Minnesota, and has pleaded not guilty in those cases. He is due back in Chicago on Aug. 15. Kelly had faced child pornography charges in Chicago in 2002; he was ultimately acquitted in 2008.
Bonjean has been credited for getting Bill Cosby’s conviction overturned. Cosby was convicted in 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in January 2004, but his conviction was overturned in June 2021 after Pennsylvania’s highest court said his due process rights had been violated.