R. Kelly is said to have been put in solitary confinement after he was attacked by a fellow inmate inside a Chicago prison.
The singer, 53, remains jailed in the city’s Metropolitan Correctional Center after pleading not guilty to dozens of state and federal sex crime charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York.
He is said to have been punched while sitting on his bed by an unnamed inmate who was angry at lockdowns caused by Kelly protesters outside the facility, a source told TMZ.
Guards are thought to have broken up the altercation quickly and Kelly was not seriously injured. The Federal Bureau Of Prisons did not comment on the claims.
But Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, told The New York Post solitary confinement was ‘the only place they can protect him’.
He added: ‘I’m still very concerned because sure this time the guards were able to quickly stop something from happening but what happens if someone goes in his cell with a shank or something like that? Or the guards are busy doing something else? We were fortunate this time but who’s to say next time?’
Greenberg added: ‘My understanding is, everytime there is a pro-R. Kelly protest outside of the jail, they lock down the entire facility.
‘When they do this, inmates don’t get their commissary, they don’t get their shower, stuff like that and since they’re fairly sporadic anyway, they get upset. So they’re penalizing everyone in the facility because people are protesting in support of Kelly.’
The charges against Kelly range from sexual assault to leading a racketeering scheme aimed at supplying Kelly with girls. Kelly also is accused of having unprotected sex with a minor in 2015 without disclosing he had herpes.
Kelly has been held at the jail awaiting trial since last July and has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
In May a judge rejected the singer’s third attempt to get out of jail early after he claimed he was at high risk of coronavirus because he is pre-diabetic.
In her decision, US District Judge Ann Donnelly wrote: ‘I do not agree that a diagnosis of pre-diabetes presents a compelling reason for the defendant’s release.
‘While the CDC has identified diabetes as a risk factor for COVID-19, the same is not true for pre-diabetes, a condition that affects nearly one in three American adults.’
She said prison doctors were working ‘with him to implement lifestyle changes like a better diet and exercise, to ensure Kelly’s safety while incarcerated.’
In one motion filed with US District Judge Ann Donnelly in April, Kelly’s defense attorney Michael Leonard painted a harrowing picture of life behind bars amid the coronavirus pandemic marred by heightened ‘stress,’ reported Chicago Tribune.
‘Inmates are reportedly banging on doors, walls, and windows begging for help,’ he wrote.
‘The only thing the MCC has done is lock things down, making the situation feel more like solitary confinement and possibly, because of the nature of this virus, locking in healthy inmates with those who may already have the virus but who may not yet be symptomatic.’
In July last year Nicole Blank Becker, an attorney for the R&B singer, claimed that he told her during a recent visit that he is better off in solitary as he believes his life would be in danger if he was housed in general population.
R. Kelly has faced sexual abuse allegations dating back to the 1990s, which were documented in a television series ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ and aired in January.
His manager was arrested in California on charges that he threatened a shooting at a Manhattan theater two years ago, forcing an evacuation and the cancellation of the screening of a documentary addressing allegations that the singer had sexually abused women and girls.
Donnell Russell, 45, of Chicago, was charged with conspiracy and with threatening physical harm by interstate communication.
He appeared remotely Friday from Los Angeles before a magistrate judge in Manhattan. He was permitted to remain free on $75,000 bail. An email seeking comment was sent to his court-appointed lawyer.
The charge comes on the heels of Russell being charged in Brooklyn federal court earlier this week with harassing a Kelly victim and her mother after the unidentified woman filed a lawsuit against Kelly.
Authorities said Russell sent a letter to the woman’s lawyer with cropped nude photographs of her and later sent her a text warning her: ‘Pull the plug or you will be exposed.’