R. Kelly on Friday sued the Brooklyn jail that has housed him since his racketeering and sex crimes conviction, saying it wrongly put him on suicide watch after he received a 30-year prison sentence despite knowing he was not suicidal.
In a complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court, the 55-year-old multiplatinum R&B singer said officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center ordered the watch after his June 29 sentencing “solely for punitive purposes” and because he was a “high-profile” inmate.
Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean quoted a prosecutor as saying the jail’s legal counsel had told her that “per the psychology department, [Kelly] is on a psych alert for various reasons, such as age, crime, publicity and sentencing.” No timetable 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.