R. Kelly hires Bill Cosby’s lawyer to appeal sex trafficking conviction
The disgraced R&B singer has hired Jennifer Bonjean who successfully appealed Cosby's conviction
R. Kelly is enlisting the legal help of Bill Cosby’s lawyer to appeal his racketeering and sex trafficking conviction.
Jennifer Bonjean has been hired by Kelly to be a part of his legal counsel, The Chicago Tribune reported. The outlet reported that Bonjean appeared in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on Friday to register and has made her intention clear to push for a new trial for the disgraced R&B singer.
Kelly, 54, was found guilty of all nine charges in his racketeering and sex trafficking in a Brooklyn federal trial in September. It took the jury nine hours to convict but the high-profile attorney declared that the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act charges were a “kitchen sink approach.”
Bonjean will now oversee having the conviction set aside in favor of a new trial. The decision will be that of District Judge Ann Donnelly and should the request be denied, Bonjean will make an appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bonjean has already asked for a two-month extension on post-trial motions that are due Monday.
“I am becoming increasingly concerned with how the government is abusing the RICO statute in order to plead around the statute of limitations and essentially put people’s entire lives on trial,” Bonjean told the Tribune. “It’s becoming a formula for the government. You have a right to defend yourself against specific allegations.”
Kelly is set to be sentenced in May 2022 and potentially faces life in prison for the crimes he’s been convicted of. Kelly chose not to testify in his defense during the six-week trial which saw accusers brand the “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner an abuser who sexually, physically, and emotionally violated them over the course of two decades.
Kelly was depicted as an entertainer with an infinity for underaged girls, including the late R&B songstress Aaliyah. Prosecutors alleged Kelly illegally married the singer at 15 to prevent her from testifying against him in 1994. A witness claimed that he witnessed Kelly performing oral sex on the underaged teen.
Despite the conviction and testimony of over 50 witnesses, Kelly’s legal team believes it can set the singer free from the Brooklyn federal prison. Bonjean will lead the charge, drawing from her efforts in Cosby’s case.
Bonjean was part of Cosby’s successful efforts to have the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturn his sexual assault conviction. He was freed from prison in June after having served almost three years of a 10-year sentence.
Cosby, who used to be famed as “America’s Dad” was found guilty in 2018 of molesting and drugging Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee. The alleged encounter took place in 2004 but Cosby wasn’t arrested until 2015 as the 12-year statute of limitations was about to end.
Cosby’s lawyers argued that a previous agreement between Cosby and the district attorney prevented charges from being filed.
“The presumption of innocence just didn’t exist for him,” Bonjean argued before the court in December 2020.
Bonjean claimed justice was served when Cosby was set free in June.
“Mr. Cosby should never have been prosecuted for these offenses. District attorneys can’t change it up simply because of their political motivation,” Bonjean told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview at the time.
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