Artist News Legal

R Kelly sues over being placed on suicide watch in prison

By | Published on Monday 4 July 2022

R Kelly

Federal prosecutors in New York have defended the decision to place R Kelly on suicide watch, following his 30 year sentence on sex trafficking and racketeering charges last week. The singer has sued the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, accusing it of placing him under suicide watch supervision as a punishment when he is not suicidal.

In a legal filing on Saturday, the federal government argued that that case should be dismissed on the grounds that Kelly’s lawsuit “fails to show a substantial likelihood of success for relief”. It also says that the prison plans to keep Kelly on suicide watch, as he meets the relevant criteria for such a move, adding that any decision on the matter should be left up to prison managers.

But Kelly’s legal team say that they will continue to fight against the decision. “The irony of putting someone on suicide watch when they’re not suicidal is it actually causes more harm”, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, tells CNN. “It’s punishment for being high-profile. And it’s horrifying frankly. To put someone under suicide watch under those conditions is cruel and unusual when they don’t need it”.

Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison last week after being found guilty in the New York courts last year of establishing and running a criminal enterprise in order to sexually and physically abuse women and teenagers.

The musician continues to deny all the allegations that have been made against him, and is appealing last year’s conviction and last week’s sentencing. Meanwhile, because there were actually charges in multiple states, the star faces further trials, including in his home city of Chicago next month.