Musician R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago. The star's lawyers filed a motion Thursday for his immediate release from solitary confinement at the federal jail in Chicago. File photo: AP Photo/Amr Alfiky.
Musician R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago. The star's lawyers filed a motion Thursday for his immediate release from solitary confinement at the federal jail in Chicago. File photo: AP Photo/Amr Alfiky.

R Kelly's lawyers want singer out of solitary confinement

By By Jason Meisner Time of article published Aug 30, 2019

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Chicago - Lawyers for indicted superstar R Kelly filed a

motion Thursday for his immediate release from solitary confinement

at the federal jail in Chicago, where the singer has allegedly been

deprived of any contact with other inmates, TV access and outdoor

activity.

Kelly, 52, has been held in isolation at the Metropolitan

Correctional Center since July 11, when federal agents arrested him

on sexual misconduct charges while he was walking his dog outside his

home in the Trump Tower.

His lawyers allege the draconian conditions in the Loop high rise

jail's Special Housing Unit have unfairly punished Kelly even though

he has not been convicted of any of the allegations against him.

It has also seriously hampered his ability to prepare for trial, with

his legal team forced to meet with Kelly - who is kept in handcuffs -

in a cramped room with no table, just a small shelf with "not enough

space to put a piece of paper and have it lie flat," the motion

alleged.

"Given that Mr Kelly is a pretrial detainee not yet convicted of any

crime, his current conditions ... violate the cruel and unusual

punishment standards of the Eighth Amendment," as well as other

constitutional safeguards to due process, his lawyers, Steve

Greenberg and Michael Leonard, wrote in the 14-page filing.

US District Judge Harry Leinenweber, who ordered Kelly held without

bond in July, is slated to take up the motion Wednesday.

Last month, the acting US marshal in Chicago told Leinenweber that

the restrictive confinement was for Kelly's own safety. He also said

Kelly had so far refused offers of a cellmate or to be moved to

general population.

But in their motion, Kelly's lawyers said Bureau of Prisons officials

have cited his celebrity status and the charges involving sexual

abuse of minors in refusing their requests to move him out of the

SHU.

"The issue is that although he may be ready to go to general

population, for safety and security reasons, he many not be

appropriate for general population at this time because of his

offense and notoriety," one BOP official wrote in an email Monday to

Kelly's lawyers, according to the defense motion.

The email stated Kelly's status will "continue to be monitored and

reviewed." That notion was scoffed at by Kelly's attorneys as

"utterly nonsensical," since the conduct he's charged with and his

status as a celebrity aren't likely to change.

The 13-count federal indictment brought in Chicago alleged Kelly and

two of his associates fixed the R&B superstar's 2008 child

pornography trial in Cook County by paying off witnesses and victims

to change their stories.

The indictment also alleged Kelly, former manager Derrel McDavid, and

onetime employee Milton "June" Brown paid hundreds of thousands of

dollars to recover child sex tapes before they fell into the hands of

prosecutors.

A separate federal indictment brought against Kelly alone in New York

accused the singer of racketeering conspiracy, alleging Kelly

identified underage girls attending his concerts and grooming them

for later sexual abuse.

Kelly is also charged in four separate indictments in Cook County

alleging he sexually assaulted one woman and sexually abused three

minor girls.

Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

dpa/tca

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