R. Kelly filed a lawsuit against the Brooklyn jail where he has been detained since being found guilty of racketeering and sex crimes, alleging that the facility put him on suicide watch when it should have known he wasn’t suicidal.
The 55-year-old multi-platinum R&B singer said in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn that the Metropolitan Detention Center ordered the monitor following his June 29 sentencing “solely for punitive reasons” and because he was a “high-profile” prisoner.
Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean cited a prosecutor as saying that the jail’s legal counsel had informed her that Kelly was “on a psych alert for many reasons, such as age, crime, publicity, and sentencing,” according to the psychology department. No schedule was provided.
Bonjean wasn’t satisfied with the explanation. “Simply put, MDC Brooklyn is run like a gulag,” she wrote.
Kelly said the “harsh conditions” he faced led to “severe mental distress,” and amounted to cruel and unusual punishment that violated the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment.
He is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, though the docket suggests Kelly is seeking $100 million.
The jail did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Prosecutors said Kelly exploited his stardom and wealth over two decades to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex, with the help of his entourage.
Kelly said he was also put on suicide watch after his conviction.
Ghislaine Maxwell, another inmate at the Brooklyn jail, was placed on suicide watch on June 24, four days before being sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls.
Maxwell’s lawyer said the British socialite had been given a “suicide smock” and deprived of clothing, toothpaste and soap though she too was not suicidal.
Friday’s filings did not say what specific conditions Kelly faced.
Kelly still faces an August trial in Chicago federal court on child pornography and obstruction charges, and various state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.