R Kelly removed from suicide watch at Brooklyn jail, US authorities say
Disgraced R&B star R Kelly has been removed from suicide watch at the Brooklyn jail where he is beginning a 30-year sentence for sex trafficking, US authorities have said.
The 55-year-old – whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly – was found guilty of racketeering and trafficking following a high-profile trial in New York in 2021.
Officials said he had been placed on suicide watch due to the “emotional distress” of his current situation.
In a court filing, prosecutors said he was removed from the watch following a clinical assessment.
Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean confirmed the singer is no longer on suicide watch, but said he plans to press ahead with a lawsuit.
He is suing the Metropolitan Detention Center, saying jail officials ordered the watch immediately after his 29 June sentencing “solely for punitive purposes” and because he was a “high-profile” inmate.
She suggested in an email that the removal was a tactic to thwart his lawsuit, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
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- R Kelly
The Federal Bureau of Prisons, which runs the Brooklyn jail, has declined to comment.
Known for the 1996 Grammy-winning hit I Believe I Can Fly, Kelly was convicted last September.
Prosecutors said Kelly exploited his stardom and wealth over two decades to lure women and girls into his orbit for sex, with the help of his entourage.
R Kelly convicted: Why did it take 30 years to get justice?
Kelly has repeatedly denied accusations of sexual abuse.
He still faces a trial in Chicago on child pornography and obstruction charges, and various state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.