R. Kelly alleges that he was put on suicide watch as a kind of punishment last week after a judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison for using his fame to molest underage girls. However, federal authorities are disputing this assertion.
Following a psychological evaluation, the disgraced R&B superstar is still under suicide watch “for his own safety,” according to court documents released late Saturday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn.
In a court filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Speight wrote that Kelly’s “current life circumstances undoubtedly bring emotional distress.”
“He is a convicted sex offender who has been sentenced to spend the next three decades in prison,” she added. “In the immediate future, he faces another federal criminal trial in Chicago for charges related to child pornography.”
On Friday, Kelly’s lawyer filed a lawsuit claiming that the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn put him on suicide watch “solely for punitive purposes and because of his status as a high-profile inmate.” Kelly, the lawyer added, has not had any suicidal thoughts.
“Nothing occurred during sentencing that came as a surprise to Mr. Kelly,” attorney Jennifer Bonjean wrote in the lawsuit. “While the conditions of suicide watch may be appropriate for individuals who are truly at risk of hurting themselves, they are cruel and unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment for individuals who are not suicidal.”
When Kelly learned that his punishment also included a $100,000 fine, he remained silent and showed no expression. The Grammy-winning artist was found guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering last year. He has maintained his innocence and intends to appeal his conviction.
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