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‘Could the Government be More Unethical?’: R. Kelly’s Lawyers Protest Feds’ Seizure of $28K from His Prison Commissary Fund

R. Kelly is crying from his cell after federal authorities seized over $28,000 from his commissary account after his failure to pay court-ordered restitution fees. According to Bloomberg, the 55-year-old, who is currently being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago after being moved from his Brooklyn cell in New York, owes $140,000 but lawyers are objecting it.

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 17: Singer R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Kelly is facing multiple sexual assault charges and is being held without bail. (Photo by Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images)

Per the government’s request, the Bureau of Prisons restricted Kelly’s prison-inmate account down to just $500. Federal prosecutors plan to use the money to pay his court-ordered restitution, as stated in a letter from the Department of Justice. 

The letter stated “that the defendant had accumulated substantial funds in his inmate trust account,” which had $28,328.24 as of Thursday, Aug. 4. His lawyers requested the money be placed in an “interest-bearing account pending a determination as to the amount and applicability of a restitution judgment.”

Kelly, who has maintained his innocence, was found guilty of sex trafficking in New York and sentenced to 30 years. His lawyers had asked for 10 years or less during sentencing in June.

Since then, the Grammy-winning vocalist has declared himself broke and “destitute,” possibly to avoid paying his outstanding debts and fines. Kelly once had a net worth of over $100 million, but is now in the red with a debt of $2 million.

One of his lawyers, Jennifer Bonjean, claims the government seizure was completely “unethical.”

“Could the gov. be more unethical?” she tweeted. “After seizing his funds and after sending this email, @EDNYnews decided to file a motion to confiscate his trust account money. You’re supposed to do that BEFORE you take the money.”

Bonjean also shared a screenshot of that email that states the majority of Kelly’s funds were confiscated “with no notice and without any court order.” The email featured a link to an article from The Washington Post about the Bureau of Prisons’ pushback in making inmates pay more for their court-ordered fines. Kelly’s other lawyer, Steve Greenberg, agreed with Bonjean’s remarks by re-sharing her tweet.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is set to face additional child pornography charges in Chicago. He also has another sex-related case in Minnesota for incidents dating back to 2001. Through a Chicago tip line, prosecutors found out he hired and paid a teenage girl in Minnesota $200 to perform a sex act, they claim.

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