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Disgraced R&B star R. Kelly has been on a suicide watch since his sentencing last week for running a sex trafficking ring targeting young women and girls, and federal prosecutors say it’s “for his own safety.”
Kelly, 55, was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 years in prison, as CrimeOnline previously reported. The temporary suicide watch came at the recommendation of a staff psychologist at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, the New York Daily News reported.
Kelly’s attorneys filed a lawsuit Friday saying the suicide watch was an “arbitrary, cruel and unconstitutional” form of punishment, complaining that the federal prison regularly placed high-profile inmates “under the harsh conditions of suicide watch.”
The filing referenced convicted sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, the gal pal of Jeffrey Epstein who was just sentenced to 20 years in prison. The wealthy Maxwell, a British socialite, has continuously complained of “harsh” treatment in prison, including suicide watch, which basically consists of extra observation and confinement to the prisoner’s cell.
Prosecutors answered Kelly’s lawsuit on Sunday, saying that Kelly’s lawsuit doesn’t show how being placed on a suicide watch has caused him “irreparable harm.”
“Plaintiff’s current life circumstances undoubtedly bring emotional distress. Plaintiff has been convicted of extraordinarily serious crimes in a case that has generated immense public attention. He is a convicted sex offender who has been sentenced to spend the next three decades in prison,” prosecutors wrote, noting that he also faces more charges — a child pornography case in Chicago.
“Nothing in Plaintiff’s complaint or motion suggests that the alleged conditions of being on suicide watch at [the Metropolitan Detention Center] are, alone, generating Plaintiff severe distress, rather than these other pressing concerns.
[Featured image: FILE – R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in 2019 in Chicago. (Antonio Perez/ via AP Pool)]