The government is trying to squash R. Kelly’s attempt to take him off of suicide watch, claiming the singer is at risk of taking his own life.
On Friday (July 1st), R. Kelly’s lawyer sued Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention prison for placing him on suicide watch.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” hitmaker, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday (July 29th) after being found guilty of racketeering and violating an anti-sex trafficking law by leading a scheme to recruit women for sex.
His attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, claimed on Friday that the singer had been placed on suicide watch for “purely punitive reasons” because he’s a “high-profile inmate,” and he has no thoughts of harming himself.
“My partner and I spoke with Mr. Kelly following his sentencing. He expressed that he was mentally fine, was behaving appropriately, and was eager to pursue his appeal. He did express concerns that even though he was NOT suicidal (Metropolitan Detention Center) would place him on suicide watch,” she said. “We are in the process of filing a complaint and an emergency rule to show cause with the courts.”
She believes holding Kelly in confinement without cause “is illegal, and they will be held accountable for it.”
The government has filed a formal reply.
In court documents filed on Saturday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Speight insisted that Kelly remains on suicide watch “for his own safety” following a psychological assessment and stated that his “current life circumstances undoubtedly bring emotional distress.”
Government lawyers fear R. Kelly could be suicidal after the lengthy prison sentence and the fact that he is due to stand trial again in Chicago on August 15th, where he faces federal charges for producing child pornography and luring minors into sex acts.