R&B singer R. Kelly was on suicide watch following his conviction on racketeering charges in New York, his lawyer told a federal judge in Chicago on Wednesday.
According to theChicago Tribune, in the first court hearing since a jury found Kelly guilty three weeks ago, attorney Steve Greenberg said the U.S. Bureau of Prisons placed the singer on suicide watch for some time but that has since been lifted.
Placing a recently convicted prisoner under increased monitoring is common in the federal prison system and Greenberg did not say that Kelly had expressed any actual desire to harm himself.
Greenberg also said Kelly has told him he’s in the process of revamping his legal team in the New York case — which underwent a dramatic shake-upin the weeks leading up to trial — but that Greenberg and his partner Michael Leonard believe they will stay on as lead counsel in Kelly’s Chicago cases.
A federal jury found the disgraced singer guilty on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating of an anti-sex trafficking law called the Mann Act. He now faces the possibility of decades in prison after he's sentenced on May 4, 2022, The New York Times and NBC News report.
The 54-year-old singer of the hit “I Believe I Can Fly” was charged in July of 2019 with racketeering predicated on criminal conduct including sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor and Mann Act violations involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity.
Kelly was also charged with four counts of violating the Mann Act related to his interstate transportation of a victim to New York to engage in illegal sexual activity, and his exposure of her to an infectious venereal disease without her knowledge.
Court documents allege Kelly and individuals who served as his managers, bodyguards, drivers, personal assistants, runners, and his entourage comprised a racketeering enterprise that operated for over two decades in New York, Illinois, Connecticut, California, and elsewhere.
Kelly allegedly used his fame to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with him and others.
Kelly is accused of identifying girls and women before directing members of the “enterprise” to escort them backstage or to events following his musical performances, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.
“Kelly also exchanged contact information with girls and women so that he and other members of the enterprise could arrange travel and lodging for them to visit Kelly and engage in the charged illegal sexual conduct,” the office wrote in a press release in 2019.
Kelly allegedly issued rules that many of his sexual partners were required to follow, including that the women and girls were to call him “Daddy.” They were reportedly not allowed to leave their rooms to eat or visit the bathroom without receiving his permission. Officials say the women and girls were also required to wear baggy clothing when not accompanying Kelly to an event, and they were directed to keep their heads down and not look at other men.
“Kelly also isolated the women and girls from their friends and family, and made them dependent on him for their financial well-being,” wrote the office.
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