R Kelly’s lawyers want to question a convicted gang member who claims to have beaten up the jailed R&B singer in a Chicago prison cell.
Jeremiah Farmer said in a court filing earlier this week that he attacked Kelly on 26 August in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre because he wanted to shed light on wrongdoing by the government in his own criminal case.
On Friday, Kelly’s laywers filed a motion in federal court to question Farmer under oath, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Farmer, a member of the Latin Kings gang in Chicago, managed to slip away from an employee at the centre, enter a cell and repeatedly hit Kelly in the head, according to a US Bureau of Prisons report attached to Farmer’s filing.
A security officer used pepper spray to stop the attack.
Kelly was said to have been checked by the prison’s doctor, who determined he had suffered no serious injuries.
He was reportedly moved to solitary confinement following the attack, with the singer’s lawyer Steven Greenberg telling the New York Post that it was “the only place they can protect him”.
The 53-year-old singer is in custody awaiting trial on various charges of child sex abuse – all of which he has denied.
He has repeatedly asked to be released from prison, citing the coronavirus pandemic as a reason, but all his requests have been turned down.
Farmer, 39, is facing mandatory life in prison in a racketeering conspiracy that involved a 1999 double murder, according to the newspaper.
“It appears that MCC personnel simply followed Mr Farmer, allowed him to carry out the attack, and then only intervened after Mr Kelly had already sustained serious injuries,” Kelly’s lawyer Michael Leonard wrote in the motion.