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R. Kelly's lawyers have said he has been placed under suicide watch after being sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Although his legal team requested that the 55-year-old – full name Robert Sylvester Kelly – be given a lighter sentence of 10 years due to trauma he suffered in his childhood, Judge Ann Donnelly said 'the public has to be protected from behaviours like this'.
The singer was given three decades behind bars in a hearing at the US District Court in New York last Wednesday (29 June).
In a statement to E! News, Kelly's attorney Jennifer Bonjean said she believes he's been 'placed on suicide watch for purely punitive reasons in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights' as he's held at New York's Metropolitan Detention Center.
She said: "My partner and I spoke with Mr. Kelly following his sentencing, he expressed that he was mentally fine, was behaving appropriately, and was eager to pursue his appeal.
"He did express concerns that even though he was NOT suicidal, [Metropolitan Detention Center] would place him on suicide watch."
Kelly was similarly placed on suicide watch following his guilty verdict last year.
'30 years in prison is like a life sentence for him' — R. Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean shared how the singer was feeling following his sentencing on Wednesday. Bonjean added they are planning to appeal the judge’s decision. pic.twitter.com/8xJQep3i05— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 29, 2022
Bonjean spoke outside the court after his sentencing last week where she discussed plans to appeal.
"Mr. Kelly is fine," she said. "We are excited for this appeal that we are bringing, obviously it was a hard day - he's been sentenced to a serious sentence - but we are confident in our arguments that we raised... that they well persuade the court of appeals."
The lawyer for the singer's victims – US Attorney Breon Peace – also spoke outside of court following the decision, describing it as a 'significant outcome' for those who were impacted by his crimes.
"Moments ago, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison," he said.
"This is a significant outcome for all the victims of R Kelly and especially for the survivors who so bravely testified about the horrific and sadistic abuse they endured.
"R. Kelly is a predator and as a result of our prosecution, he'll serve a long jail sentence for his crimes.
“R. Kelly is a predator … Today the sentence shows the witnesses reclaimed their lives and their future,” says Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney. “This is a victory for them, justice and for future survivors of sexual assault.” pic.twitter.com/m1qHGQHBxC— Sierra Gillespie (@sierragillespie) June 29, 2022
"With the aid of his fame, his money, and most importantly his inner circle, R Kelly preyed upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification for decades."
During the six-week federal trial in September 2021, assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said the singer was a serial abuser who ‘maintained control over these victims using every trick in the predator handbook’.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123
For those looking to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111
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