R. Kelly is suing the federal Bureau of Prisons over allegations that the agency leaked private information about the disgraced singer to social media personality Tasha K — the same YouTube gossip host that Cardi B sued for defamation last year.
In a complaint filed Monday (Nov. 13) in Chicago federal court, Kelly’s lawyers say an unnamed Bureau of Prisons (BOP) agent illegally accessed Kelly’s digital prison records — including recordings of private phone calls with his girlfriend and lawyers — and sold them to Tasha, who then broadcast them online to more than 1 million followers.
“The defendant United States of America breached its duty of care to the plaintiff when it allowed countless BOP officers to access plaintiff’s confidential information without any legal basis to do so,” Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean writes.
The lawsuit, which also names Tasha K (Latasha Kebe) as a defendant, claims that the influencer then “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,” the lawsuit claims, because he knew it could be “released to the general public for mass exploitation.”
Kelly was convicted in New York in 2021 on racketeering and sex trafficking charges stemming from accusations that he orchestrated a long-running scheme to abuse women. In September 2022, he was convicted in Chicago on separate federal charges of child pornography and enticement of minors for sex. The singer, who is currently appealing both convictions, was later sentenced to 30 years in prison.
If Kebe’s name sounds familiar, it should. Last year, Cardi B won a $3.9 million defamation judgment against the blogger over false statements Kebe made about drug use, STDs and prostitution on her YouTube channel “UnWinewithTashaK.” Kebe has since filed for federal bankruptcy, citing her inability to pay that huge judgment.
In his new lawsuit, Kelly claims that Kebe first published private information in November 2019, starting with a video called “R. Kelly Can’t Control his Girlfriends while Behind Bars” that contained information Kebe said came from a “phone tap somewhere.” Later posts allegedly divulged more personal information, including highly-sensitive communications with his legal team.
“The communications … related to personal and family problems, romantic interests, health problems, literacy issues, and issues related to the defense of his pending criminal cases,” Kelly’s lawyers wrote.
According to the lawsuit, an internal BOP investigation revealed that an unnamed officer had pulled Kelly’s records from the agency’s TruView system, a digital database of information on prisoners. The officer then allegedly scanned them and “emailed that scan to third parties, including defendant Kebe.” But that probe ended without any action against the officer, Kelly’s lawyers claim.
“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,” Bonjean wrote in Monday’s complaint. “In short, there has been a cover-up of the rampant BOP misconduct that is ongoing.”
Kelly’s lawyers claim that illegal leaks continued even after the BOP was made aware of the initial disclosures to Kebe. They cited a report last summer by the Washington Post about Kelly’s $25,000 in commissary funds — a report that resulted in federal prosecutors seizing the money to pay off his victims.
In technical legal terms, 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. They also claim that the officer who stole the records violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — a federal statute that makes computer hacking illegal.
A spokesperson for the BOP did not immediately return a request for comment. An attorney who has represented Tasha K on other matters did not immediately return a request for comment.
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