R&B artist R. Kelly, a convicted sex offender, filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and YouTube personality Tasha K on Monday.
The 56-year-old singer is claiming negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other violations.
According to the 28-page complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Chicago, a copy of which was obtained by HuffPost, R. Kelly says that dozens of Prison Bureau officers unlawfully accessed his information. He is accusing a former prison officer of sharing his prison records with a woman known as Tasha K, who runs a popular celebrity gossip YouTube channel, “UnWinewithTashaK,” that has over 1 million subscribers.
The suit arrives as Kelly is appealing his 2021 and 2022 convictions on charges including sex trafficking, child pornography and racketeering. With this new lawsuit, he is seeking a trial by jury.
The suit claims that a “secret” investigation by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General found that “at least 60 BOP officers made unauthorized access to plaintiff’s sensitive, confidential, and private information maintained by the BOP.”
It adds that one officer, identified as Officer A, illegally accessed Kelly’s records — including email correspondence, phone calls and guest visits — more than 150 times and emailed some of the records to herself before providing them to Tasha K (Latasha Kebe). The complaint says that Officer A violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Tasha K, who was successfully sued by Cardi B for defamation in 2022 and has since filed for bankruptcy, then “rallied her massive following to harass the plaintiff with the use of the stolen information and created chaos in the plaintiff’s personal life,” the complaint adds.
Tasha K has posted the information to her YouTube channel with the title “R. Kelly Can’t Control His Girlfriends While Behind Bars.” She shared with her viewers phone call information between Kelly and women, as well as visitor logs and email communications, the lawsuit says.
“Yeah, there’s a phone tap somewhere, and I’m not gonna tell you where it’s at,” she says in a nearly 40-minute video. “I have the plug. I’m not gonna tell you where I got the information from, but just listen to the damn information, OK?”
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, told ABC7 Chicago that the officers’ alleged violations have affected the way Kelly communicates with others.
“He had every right to be able to be confident, to think the BOP would protect his information and not exploit, but unfortunately, certain BOP officers did just that,” Bonjean said. “He does not feel comfortable to this day talking to anyone, even his own lawyers, because of the impact of this event.”
Kelly’s attorneys said in a statement to HuffPost that the lawsuit was necessary to get justice for Kelly since the Department of Justice investigation did not lead to charges against those involved in the alleged misconduct.
“Mr. Kelly must now bring this lawsuit to get answers and justice, because despite opening an investigation into the serious misconduct, the DOJ ultimately declined to indict the wrongdoers and allowed the misconduct to continue,” the Bonjean Law Group said in a statement to HuffPost.
Jurors in the Brooklyn borough of New York City convicted Kelly of racketeering and sex trafficking charges on Sept. 27, 2021, and Chicago jurors convicted him on Sept. 14, 2022, of child pornography charges. Collectively, the singer was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.
Kelly was once a pillar in the Black community, and the allegations against him caused a stark divide between his fans and the advocates for his victims. His convictions came after years of activism led by Black women, a documentary and social media campaigns.
The Bureau of Prisons and Tasha K did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.