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R. Kelly’s lawyers say no one ‘raised a finger’ to prevent MCC attack

Jeremiah Farmer, the inmate accused of attacking Kelly, has said in court records that the R&B star let out a “horrifying scream.”

R. Kelly walks with attorneys and supporters into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in March 2019.
R. Kelly walks with attorneys and supporters into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in March 2019.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file photo

Lawyers for R&B star R. Kelly claim a Latin King street gang member who allegedly assaulted Kelly in Chicago’s federal jail “roamed a great distance” within the downtown facility, and no one “raised a finger” to stop him until he was well into Kelly’s beating.

The alleged assailant, Jeremiah Farmer, has also said in court records that Kelly let out a “horrifying scream” during the attack.

Kelly attorney Michael Leonard addressed the assault in an overnight court filing Friday, again asking U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber to hold a hearing over Kelly’s detention in Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. Leonard also asked Leinenweber to order Kelly’s release.

The singer has been held at the MCC since his arrest by federal authorities in July 2019. Kelly faces an indictment in Chicago alleging child pornography and obstruction of justice, as well as a racketeering indictment in Brooklyn. A judge in New York would also have to agree to Kelly’s release before he could go free. No trial date is set in either district.

Farmer, 39, was convicted last year of a racketeering conspiracy involving two 1999 northwest Indiana murders. The Chicago Sun-Times first reported in September that Farmer had claimed in court records to be the inmate who attacked Kelly in late August, insisting “the government made me attack” Kelly and that he did so “in hopes of getting spotlight attention and world news notice to shed light on” alleged government corruption.

Jeremiah Farmer
Lake County (Indiana) Sheriff’s Department

After the Sun-Times report, Leonard told Leinenweber he wanted to put Farmer on the witness stand to determine whether anyone at the MCC played a role in Kelly’s assault. He pointed to a claim by Farmer that a mental health professional at the jail told him, “You don’t want to assault Kelly, if you did, you would have done it.” Farmer wrote in his court filing he “said some disrespect back” and was told “go do it then.” That’s when he said he stormed out and attacked Kelly despite being told to stop.

In his filing early Friday morning, Leonard wrote a videotape produced by prosecutors shows that “no one at the MCC raised a finger to stop Mr. Farmer from attacking Mr. Kelly, until after Mr. Farmer was well into beating Mr. Kelly,” and “Mr. Farmer roamed a great distance within the MCC before carrying out that act, without any opposition.”

Federal prosecutors have said in a court filing “it is unfortunate that Farmer decided to physically assault” Kelly, but “this single, isolated incident does not suggest that the Bureau of Prisons is incapable of safely housing” the singer. Prosecutors in Chicago and Brooklyn have repeatedly insisted upon Kelly’s detention since his arrest, and judges in both districts have so far sided with them.

Prison records show Farmer is now being held in a low-security detention facility in Milan, Michigan.