Imprisoned R&B singer R. Kelly, who was assaulted at the Metropolitan Correctional Center by a fellow inmate last month, is in cell hell.
“Fear and terror have left him petrified and paranoid,” said Nicole Blank Becker, one of Kelly’s attorneys who talks to him frequently.
In an exclusive interview with Sneed, Becker claims Kelly “can’t sleep and is now afraid to leave his jail cell during the two hours he’s permitted daily to venture out. His insomnia is serious.”
A former sex crimes prosecutor for the Michigan Macomb County state’s attorney’s office, Becker tells Sneed: “He’s even afraid to get his hair cut.”
“Robert [Kelly] is scared for his life ... terrified every single day since he was beaten in his jail cell by fellow MCC inmate Jeremiah Shane Farmer a month ago, she said.
The kicker: Becker claims Kelly tells her there is a prisoner lockdown every time his fans conduct an outdoor protest near the MCC. “His fans are already all over the internet protesting his incarceration,” she added.
Are Kelly’s fans fomenting inmate friction?
Farmer, a Latin Kings street gang member convicted of a racketeering conspiracy last year involving two 1999 Northwest Indiana murders, admitted via court papers filed this month he had attacked Kelly — and said the government made him attack Kelly.
Steve Greenberg, Kelly’s Chicago attorney, has called for an evidentiary hearing before federal Judge Harry Leinenweber on the matter.
Sneed contacted the Federal Bureau of Prisons for comment on the attack and Kelly’s incarceration, but was told via email: “For privacy and safety and security reasons, we do not discuss a specific inmate’s medical care, housing quarters or property.”
Kelly has been held at the MCC since last summer awaiting trial on a litany of criminal charges across multiple jurisdictions, including federal indictments in Illinois and New York alleging racketeering, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography; aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County; and soliciting a minor and prostitution in Minnesota.
“Recently, Kelly left his cell to walk down the hall,” Becker told Sneed. “He said it felt like the longest walk of his life.
Adding new details to Kelly’s prison attack, Becker claims Kelly “was lying down with a blanket covering his face and wearing ear pods on the bottom tier of a bed bunk at 9:45 a.m. on August 26, when someone wearing shoes entered his unlocked cell and began to stomp and kick his face,” she said.
“In an attempt to defend himself from the bottom bed tier, he [Kelly] and his attacker were then pepper sprayed by a corrections officer.”
To add salt to the wound, Becker says Kelly told her “the previous occupant of his new MCC jail cell following the attack was his attacker, Jeremiah Farmer! She claims Kelly now fears reprisals from inmate friends of his attacker who are housed near his cell.
“I’ve been told Farmer has now been sent to a new location,” she added.
Becker also claims Kelly told her “one inmate in his MCC unit is accusing him of stealing his songs, and his prison commissary-purchased mp3 podcast recorder has yet to be returned by the MCC,” she added.
Kelly, who can’t read and write, now can’t listen to music, she said. “And he’s gained a lot of weight since COVID-19 due to lack of exercise.”
Installed once again with his roommate before the attack, Sneed is told Kelly has enlisted him to read aloud from the piles of fan mail he is still permitted to receive.
Greenberg has been fighting to get the singer out of MCC incarceration since the coronavirus pandemic hit this spring.
“He doesn’t have COVID, but he is still literally fighting for his life,” said Greenberg.
“It’s tremendously unfair. He’s stuck in jail and can’t get a trial because of the pressure of COVID-19 on the prison system; he can’t have contact with the outside world; he lives in a tiny little cell in fear of his own safety; and he suffers from headaches from being beaten up physically.”
“It’s all [messed] up.”
Kelly’s brigade of lawyers have been trying for months to get him out of jail while he awaits trial on federal charges in Chicago and Brooklyn. On Sept. 4, another Kelly lawyer argued for the singer’s release before the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, which took his request under advisement.
Sneedlings . . .
Condolences to the family of golf whiz/Chicago Board of Trade member John M. Cox, who died Sept. 10 at the age 70 en route to his beloved golf game. His close friends, Diane and Mike Ditka, are heartbroken. . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Serena Williams, 39; Olivia Newton-John, 72; Nev Schulman, 36; and Marc McCormack, ageless. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Steve Kerr, 55; Francesco Totti, 44; Gwyneth Paltrow, 48; and Skip Lanoff, ageless and priceless.