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R Kelly moved to general jail population


R. Kelly (Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Pool/TNS/Sipa USA).

Jail personnel have moved R Kelly into the general inmate population despite earlier concerns - apparently shared at one point by the singer - that other inmates could try to hurt him because of his celebrity status or because he is accused of sexually assaulting minors, federal prosecutors in Chicago said in a new court filing.

Word that Kelly has been moved from a restrictive unit at a high-rise jail in downtown Chicago comes days after Kelly's lawyers said the 52-year-old had been held in solitary confinement by no fault of his own since his July arrest, with none of the privileges of other inmates, such as access to TV or candy from the jail commissary, or to outdoor exercise and daily showers. They characterised the conditions as "cruel and unusual punishment."

But in their Tuesday filing in US District Court in Chicago, prosecutors disputed defence suggestions Kelly had been kept in the special housing unit, called the SHU, against his will and for no good reason, alleging Kelly himself had asked after his July arrest on federal charges to be kept from other inmates. From the SHU, Kelly also was able to purchase items from the jail store, "including snacks such as Snickers," the filing says.

Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, said he was pleased his client was no longer in the special housing unit, which Greenberg said also hampered Kelly' preparation for trial.

"But he shouldn't have been there in the first place," he said. "If you are going to arrest high-profile individuals, you should find a way to hold them in a non-draconian way."

Kelly faces 40 counts of sexual various state and federal sexual misconduct charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York, from child pornography to the aggravated sexual assault. The Grammy Award-winner has entered not guilty pleas in all the cases but the one in Minnesota , where he will be arraigned later.

A status hearing in Kelly's federal case in Chicago is set for Wednesday, where Judge Harry Leinenweber is likely to ask attorneys about Kelly's current jail conditions.

© AP 2019