R. Kelly Being Placed On Suicide Watch Not A Punishment, Prosecutors Maintain

By on
Singer R. Kelly is pictured during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Illinois in 2019
Singer R. Kelly is pictured during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Illinois in 2019

R. Kelly remains on suicide watch after federal prosecutors discounted his claim that it was meant to punish him for his crimes.

The prosecutors said in a court filing that Kelly has been given proper treatment at his detention cell since his sentencing and that he should adjust to life behind bars for the heinous sex crimes he has committed.

Kelly's lawyers filed a $100 million lawsuit against Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn on July 1 for placing the artist on suicide watch, claiming it was "cruel" and intentionally inflicted "emotional distress" on him. The lawyers also argued that the singer was not suicidal and that the move to place him on suicide watch was only made due to his "high profile" status.

In response to Kelly's camp, federal prosecutors noted in court documents filed Sunday that the move was meant for the disgraced singer's own safety. U.S. Attorney Breon Peace also explained it was the psychologist at the Bureau of Prisons who determined it would be for him to be placed on watch, following an in-person assessment of Kelly after his sentencing last week.

The prosecutors added in the court filing that Kelly failed to provide any evidence that being on suicide watch is "particularly harsh" compared to an ordinary prisoner's life. "Significantly, Plaintiff does not explain why placement on the suicide watch list will cause him irreplaceable mental harm separate and apart from his incarceration in general," the prosecutors said.

"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," they added, noting that the singer has another federal criminal trial ahead of him later this year for the child pornography charges against him in Chicago.

Kelly, who has been incarcerated without bail since 2019, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on June 29 after being found guilty of racketeering and violating the Mann Act. He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release and a $100,000 fine.




Photo: POOL via AFP / Antonio PEREZ

Join the Discussion