R. Kelly suing the United States over seized commissary funds

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R. Kelly suing the United States over seized commissary funds

R. Kelly has sued to get his commissary funds back, after they were allegedly taken by the United States government to satisfy a judgment against him.

According to court documents obtained by HipHopDX, a hearing on the matter is scheduled for Monday (March 18), with Assistant United States Attorney Kayla Bensing representing the United States. The oral arguments will be livestreamed, and a link to the livestream can be found here.

In March 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Heather Williams was entitled to access the disgraced singer’s label fund — which was reportedly valued at $1.5 million in 2020, according to Billboard — before Midwest Commercial Funding, a property manager that won its own separate $3.5 million ruling against Kelly over unpaid rent on a Chicago studio.

The following August, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly signed an order demanding that Kelly and his label, Universal Music Group, turn over more than $500,000 in royalties. The order, which was signed on Wednesday (August 23), previously demanded that the “Ignition” singer turn over $28,000, which was in his prison canteen.

“The defendant is appealing his conviction and the government’s seizure of his substantial Bureau of Prisons commissary account to satisfy the financial penalties imposed in the case,” read the announcement accompanying the livestream link, which also confirmed that each side will have ten minutes to argue their point.

Check out the docket and documents below.

Heather Williams won a $4 million judgment against Kelly in 2020 after filing a civil lawsuit against him a year prior. She alleged that when she was 16, the “Ignition” hitmaker lured her to his studio on a promise she could be in a music video and then had sex with her multiple times as a minor.

Back in November, R. Kelly filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons for allegedly leaking his prison emails and call logs to blogger Tasha K.

According to Billboard, the embattled singer filed the lawsuit in Chicago federal court on Monday (November 13), alleging a Bureau of Prisons agent illegally accessed his digital prison records and sold them to Tasha in 2019.

Tasha K is named as a defendant in the suit, with Kelly’s legal team writing that she “rallied her massive following to harass the plaintiff with the use of the stolen information and created chaos in plaintiff’s personal life.”

The leaks left Kelly “isolated and fearful to communicate with his attorneys or other third parties” because he knew it could be “released to the general public for mass exploitation.”

The lawsuit notes that an internal BOP investigation revealed that an unnamed officer had pulled R. Kelly’s records from the agency’s digital database of information on prisoners, scanned them, then emailed them to outside parties – including Tasha – and that nothing happened once that was discovered.

“No charges were brought against defendant BOP Officer A, and the government has refused to reveal any details about the investigation including the identity of Officer A,” the complaint reads. “In short, there has been a cover-up of the rampant BOP misconduct that is ongoing.”

They also noted that the leaks have continued to happen since the investigation – pointing to an incident over the summer where the $28,000 he had in his prison canteen was discovered and subsequently seized to continue paying restitution to his victims.

R. Kelly’s lawyers allege that the leaks amounted to “negligence, an invasion of his privacy, an intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil theft and civil conspiracy.”

A spokesperson for the BOP declined to comment to Billboard, citing agency policy on pending litigation.