The 55-year-old R&B singer was sentenced to 30 years in prison last Wednesday for racketeering and sex trafficking. His lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, claimed she hadn’t heard from him since then, suggesting that he’s been on suicide watch ever since.
Kelly filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which runs the detention center, Friday. MDC Warden Heriberto H. Tellez is named in the suit.
“Plaintiff was placed on suicide watch as a form of punishment even though he was not suicidal, causing him severe mental distress,” the filing reads. “Defendant knew that Plaintiff was not a suicide risk when they placed him under suicide watch subjecting him to cruel confinement. Plaintiff was placed on suicide watch solely for punitive purposes and because of his status as a high-profile inmate.”
This is Kelly’s second time on suicide watch, the first occurring immediately after the jury returned his guilty verdict.
Bonjean also alleges in the suit that the MDC “stonewalled” her requests to verify that Kelly was placed on suicide watch the second time. She did not receive any confirmation for the first 48 hours and responded by promptly filing the lawsuit.
“MDC-Brooklyn has a policy of punishing high profile inmates by placing them under the harsh conditions of suicide watch even though they are not suicidal,” Bonjean alleged in the suit, going so far as to say it is “designed to cause harm to high profile inmates.”
“Indeed, as recently as June 25, 2022, another high-profile inmate, Ghislaine Maxwell, was placed on suicide watch even though she was not suicidal,” she said. “MDC Brooklyn’s policy can only be described as arbitrary, cruel, and unconstitutional.”
“Not surprising that as soon as the BOP was going to have to account for their decisions, they removed him,” Bonjean said Tuesday. “Our lawsuit will proceed nonetheless.”
The BOP did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.