Convicted sex trafficker and former R&B star Robert Sylvester “R.” Kelly has sued the Brooklyn prison housing him claiming they’ve unlawfully placed him on suicide watch as a form of punishment.
The complaint, filed by Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean, comes days after Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was convicted of federal sex trafficking and other charges. He was also given a $100,000 fine.
In an affidavit, Bonjean wrote that the former singer “impressed upon me repeatedly” that he was not suicidal and that conditions at the Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center were “extraordinarily stressful and harmful.”
“He expressed on multiple occasions that he did not want to be put on suicide watch and that he was not suicidal and had no thoughts of harming himself or anyone else,” the lawyer wrote.
The lawsuit claims that a prosecutor confirmed to Bonjean that Kelly was placed on suicide watch after his lawyer had been unable to get an update from the prison as to Kelly’s location.
Kelly’s legal team alleged that a prosecutor said he had been moved “for various reasons, such as age, crime, publicity, and sentencing.”
“Mr. Kelly is currently being confined illegally, in violation of his Eighth Amendment guarantees, under the harsh conditions of suicide watch for no reason other than his status as a high-profile inmate,” the documents said. “The conditions under which he is currently being confined are causing real and lasting harm to Mr. Kelly.”
Kelly was convicted in September 2021 after being found guilty by a New York jury of using his star power to lure women and children into a scheme that subjected them to degrading sexual abuse and physical harm.
Eight of the counts were for violating the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law that prohibits moving people across state lines for prostitution.
He was also convicted of a racketeering charge that comprised 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, and sex trafficking charges.
The 55-year-old disgraced star has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and plans to appeal.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly delivered his sentence on Wednesday. She noted the “horrors your victims endured” and that there was “no price was too high to pay for your happiness.”
“This case is not about sex. It’s about violence and cruelty and control,” she told Kelly. “You left in your wake a trail of broken lives.”
Several accusers told the judge about how they were told by Kelly that he’d help mentor them and help them attain stardom—only to be turned into victims of sexual abuse.
Kelly has been in jail since July 2019 after he was first indicted.
Mimi Nguyen-ly contributed to this report.