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'No one raised a finger' to stop R. Kelly jail beating, singer's lawyers say

Chicago Tribune — By Jason Meisner Chicago Tribune

Oct. 16-- CHICAGO-A convicted gang member accused of beating singer R. Kelly in his jail cell was allowed to roam "a great distance" at the federal jail in downtown Chicago and no one "lifted a finger" to ward off the attack, Kelly's lawyers alleged in a court filing Friday.

Kelly's attorneys want to question Jeremiah Shane Farmer under oath about the August attack as part of their ongoing efforts to have Kelly released on bond pending trial on sexual abuse-related charges.

Farmer, a convicted member of the Latin Kings, outed himself as Kelly's attacker in a court filing last month in Hammond, where he's facing a mandatory life sentence for racketeering conspiracy involving a 1999 double murder.

In a motion Friday, Kelly's attorneys said "an unresolved issue remains as to whether Metropolitan Correctional Center personnel encouraged, and then allowed, a beating of Mr. Kelly to take place."

The motion said a jail security videotape handed over by prosecutors showed Farmer had "roamed a great distance" before entering Kelly's cell and that "no one at the MCC raised a finger to stop Mr. Farmer from attacking Mr. Kelly until after Mr. Farmer was well into beating."

Kelly suffered "significant physical and psychological injuries" from the attack, his lawyers said.

According to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons report, Farmer was able to slip away from an MCC employee on Aug. 26, enter Kelly's cell and beat him repeatedly in the head while Kelly was in the lower bunk. The attack stopped only after a jail security officer pepper-sprayed Farmer, the report states.

Farmer, 39, has claimed in court filings he committed the attack "in hopes of getting spotlight attention and world news notice to shed light on" wrongdoing by the government. He also was angered by repeated lockdowns at the jail that he blamed on Kelly's celebrity status.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber is expected to rule soon on whether to allow an evidentiary hearing into the jail attack.

Farmer, of Hammond, was convicted last year in the June 25, 1999, slayings of Marion Lowry, 74, and Harvey Siegers, 67, who were beaten with a small sledgehammer at their business, Calumet Auto Rebuilders. He's facing a mandatory life sentence and was transferred to a federal facility in Michigan after the attack on Kelly.

Kelly, 53, faces federal indictments in two states on charges related to sexual abuse as well as multiple indictments filed in Cook County, Illinois. He has been held without bond since his arrest in July 2019.

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