Friday, August 12, 2022

R.Kelly Turns to Bill Cosby’s Former Lawyer to Oversee Appeal of Sex Trafficking Conviction

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Singer R. Kelly smiles as he leaves Leighton Courthouse following his status hearing on May 07, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. (May 6, 2019 – Source: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images North America

*R. Kelly has turned to Bill Cosby’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean to handle the appeal of his racketeering and sex trafficking conviction.

Bonjean is the same lawyer who helped to overturn Cosby’s sexual assault case. She also reportedly repped Nxivm’s Keith Raniere, who was convicted of RICO + sex trafficking charges. In 2020, Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison.

On Sept. 27, R. Kelly was found guilty of racketeering in his federal sex crimes trial in New York, EURweb reported. Prosecutors accused the singer (real name: Robert Sylvester Kelly) of directing his employees to procure women for sex and sexually abused numerous women over the span of nearly 25 years.

In opening statements, Assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez, the lead prosecutor in the case, blasted him as a “predator” who “used his money, his clout, and his public persona to hide his crimes in plain sight.”

READ MORE: R.Kelly’s Legal Team Slams Reports That He Sexually Abused Male Minor

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In this handout provided by Cook County Sheriff’s Office, R. Kelly poses for a mugshot photo after being arrested for $161,663 in unpaid child support on March 6, 2019. (Source: Getty Images)

Over several weeks, prosecutors brought more than 40 witnesses to testify about Kelly. The witnesses included women and men who described how Kelly directed them to have sex with him and each other, and how the singer obsessively took videos of every sexual encounter

Kelly faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on May 4, 2022.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Bonjean will oversee having the conviction set aside in favor of a new trial. Ultimately, Judge Ann Donnelly will approve or deny the request. The report notes that Bonjean has “already asked for a two-month extension on post-trial motions” that is reportedly due on Nov 1.

“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 said in a statement. “It’s becoming a formula for the government. You have a right to defend yourself against specific allegations.

R. Kelly is facing similar sex crimes charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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