Former R&B star R. Kelly, who is serving a decadeslong prison sentence for sex crimes, has sued the federal government over the leak of Kelly’s private information while he was locked up in Chicago’s federal jail.
Kelly attorney Jennifer Bonjean filed the lawsuit Monday in Chicago’s federal court. It alleges that 60 Bureau of Prisons officers improperly accessed Kelly’s records between July 2019 and January 2020.
A federal investigation into the leak went public in September 2021. It did not lead to criminal charges. Kelly’s lawsuit alleges that the conduct continued nearly a year later, when an officer improperly accessed Kelly’s records in August 2022 and leaked information to the Washington Post.
That’s the same month Kelly went to trial last year in Chicago.
Kelly’s lawsuit targets unidentified officers with the Bureau of Prisons, as well as the blogger known as TashaK.
Kelly is being held at a medium-security prison in Butner, North Carolina, records show. He is serving a 30-year prison sentence for a 2021 racketeering conviction in Brooklyn’s federal court.
Despite that conviction, he also went to trial last year in Chicago, where a jury found him guilty of producing child pornography and enticing minors into criminal sexual activity. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber then gave him a sentence that effectively added one year to Kelly’s earlier prison sentence.
Kelly is not due to leave federal custody until December 2045.
Still, Bonjean wrote in her complaint that the Bureau of Prisons “had a duty to protect [Kelly] and his private and sensitive information.” Instead, she alleged that it “allowed countless BOP officers to access [Kelly’s] confidential information without any legal basis to do so.”
One unknown officer unlawfully downloaded that information and sold it to TashaK, a YouTube blogger with more than 1 million subscribers, according to the lawsuit.
“There has been a cover-up of the rampant BOP misconduct that is ongoing,” and the leak “created chaos in [Kelly’s] personal life,” Bonjean wrote.