R. Kelly off suicide watch
NEW YORK - R. Kelly is no longer on suicide watch following the R&B singer's sentencing in a federal sex abuse case, prosecutors said in court papers filed on Tuesday.
The filing came in response to a claim last week by Kelly’s attorneys that the 55-year-old Kelly was placed on suicide watch as a form of punishment last week after a judge sentenced him for using his fame to sexually exploit women and girls.
Initially, prosecutors said the measure was needed for Kelly's "own safety" following a psychological examination. They reversed themselves on Tuesday, saying prison officials took him off suicide watch based on a follow-up "clinical assessment."
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The Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling songwriter was found guilty last year of racketeering and sex trafficking. He has denied wrongdoing and plans to appeal his conviction.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced Kelly to 30 years in prison in a federal sex abuse case in New York.
Kelly did not address the court during the sentencing.
Outrage over Kelly's sexual misconduct with young women and children was fueled in part by the widely watched docuseries "Surviving R. Kelly," which gave voice to accusers who wondered if their stories were previously ignored because they were Black women.
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Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, used his "fame, money and popularity" to systematically "prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification," prosecutors wrote in their own filing earlier this month.
The accusers alleged they were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments such as violent spankings if they broke what one referred to as "Rob’s rules."
Some said they believed the videotapes he shot of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.
With the Associated Press