R. Kelly was reportedly attacked at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Chicago by a fellow inmate.
The initial story was broken by TMZ, who reported that a frustrated inmate had allegedly begun “punching” Kelly, who was sitting on his bed at the time of the incident.
Kelly’s attorney Douglas C. Anton confirmed the attack to Billboard on August 27. “It is unfortunately true,” he said. “Another inmate that had an issue with lockdown, got upset and simply attacked Robert.”
Anton said he was told the prison was sent into lockdown because there were R Kelly protestors outside, but could not confirm the legitimacy of the claim.
“I spoke to him and he is not OK,” he told Billboard. “He is not doing well. This even more reason why he needs to be released. They cannot protect him in the facility.”
Another of Kelly’s attorneys, Steve Greenberg, took to Twitter to weigh in on the situation, saying that his legal team have been given few details about the incident.
In a follow-up tweet, Greenberg called for Kelly’s release.
Regardless, it is time to release Mr. Kelly. The government cannot ensure his safety, and they cannot give him his day in court. We should not incarcerate people indefinitely because we cannot provide them with due process!
— Steve Greenberg (@SGcrimlaw) August 27, 2020
The Federal Bureau of Prisons declined comment to CNN on the alleged attack. Spokesperson Emery Nelson said, “For privacy, safety, and security reasons, we do not comment on an individual inmate’s conditions of confinement or medical status.”
Kelly was taken into custody in early 2019 on 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He was later rearrested in July that year, with federal prosecutors indicting him on 13 charges.
In April, Kelly’s lawyers filed a motion that he be bailed due to concerns he would catch coronavirus in prison. However, the appeal was rejected.
“While I am sympathetic to the defendant’s understandable anxiety about COVID-19, he has not established compelling reasons warranting his release,” U.S. District Judge Anne Donnelly wrote.
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In May, Kelly pleaded not guilty in New York to counts of sex-trafficking and several new allegations of abuse from an anonymous victim. He is also facing charges in Illinois, where he is being held, as well as Minnesota.
Kelly was due to stand trial in New York City again in July for charges of racketeering and sex trafficking, but the hearing was pushed back until September 29 due to coronavirus concerns.