R Kelly was put on suicide watch to keep him safe, despite the disgraced R&B star's insistence in a lawsuit the move was done "as a form of punishment," federal prosecutors in Brooklyn say.
In court filings, the prosecutors said Kelly was placed on a temporary suicide watch following his 30-year sentence for sex trafficking at the recommendation of a staff psychologist at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
"Based on the clinical assessment and in accordance with Bureau of Prisons ... policy for preventing suicides, Plaintiff remains on suicide watch for his own safety," prosecutors wrote.
The filing comes two days after the 55-year-old Kelly filed a suit alleging the federal jail policy of placing high-profile inmates "under the harsh conditions of suicide watch" when they're not suicidal is an "arbitrary, cruel and unconstitutional" form of punishment.
Kelly has been alone in a cell since his sentencing Wednesday after being convicted of sexually and mentally abusing fans and other young women for decades, using his fame to lure underage girls to his thrall.
His lawsuit referenced another high-profile inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Jeffrey Epstein accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison last Tuesday. She has complained she's been put on suicide watch repeatedly without justification.
The government argued on Sunday, though, that Kelly failed to show how being placed on suicide watch will cause him irreparable harm beyond the stress of serving a 30-year sentence.
"Plaintiff's current life circumstances undoubtedly bring emotional distress. Plaintiff has been convicted of extraordinarily serious crimes in a case that has generated immense public attention. He is a convicted sex offender who has been sentenced to spend the next three decades in prison," prosecutors wrote, adding that Kelly faces a child pornography case in Chicago.
"Nothing in Plaintiff's complaint or motion suggests that the alleged conditions of being on suicide watch at (the Metropolitan Detention Center) are, alone, generating Plaintiff severe distress, rather than these other pressing concerns."
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Australian Associated Press
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