By Chris Cooke | Published on Friday 5 August 2022
Prosecutors in New York are seeking to take funds out of R Kelly’s prison inmate account to cover outstanding fines in relation to his conviction last year of running a criminal enterprise in order to abuse women and teenagers.
Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in jail earlier this year following last year’s guilty verdict in the first of several criminal cases against the singer, who – of course – has been accused of sexual and physical abuse by numerous women, and some men.
In addition to the jail term, Kelly was also ordered to $140,000 in fines. As yet, no payments have been made, which has prompted prosecutors to request that the fines now be taken out of monies Kelly has accrued while in prison.
That money sits in an account managed by the Bureau Of Prisons and can be used by prisoners to buy snacks and other items, or things like access to email or a phone, while incarcerated. Kelly currently has about $28,000 in his account.
There has been some debate regarding prisoners building up decent funds in their inmate accounts while failing to pay outstanding fines or victim restitution, and whether it should be easier to divert those jail-based funds to cover court ordered payments. Though some – including the BOP – have pushed back against some of the more radical proposals in this domain.
Nevertheless, prosecutors in the R Kelly case have presented various arguments in a letter to the court as to why money in his inmate account should be used to pay some of his outstanding fines, while also seeking a court order to make that happen. They have also confirmed that the BOP has now frozen all but $500 of the money in Kelly’s inmate account pending the court’s decision.
Commenting on the prosecution’s proposal regarding the unpaid fines, Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, told the Washington Post: “My client has an appeal pending, and until the Second Circuit [appeals court] affirms his conviction, nobody should be touching any of his money”.
In addition to the appeal proceedings in New York State, Kelly also faces criminal charges elsewhere in the US, with a trial in his home town of Chicago due to kick off later this month.
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