After being convicted last month of all charges in a racketeering and sex trafficking case, disgraced entertainer and songwriter R. Kelly has hired the attorney who helped comedian Bill Cosby successfully appeal his conviction.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Jennifer Bonjean, a New York-based attorney has signed on to challenge the racketeering conviction that Kelly received in September in a Brooklyn, NY, courtroom.
She made an appearance in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, where post-trial motions were scheduled for Monday, to ask for a two-month extension.
Bonjean said she will spearhead Kelly’s post-conviction motions. She also said that if U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly denies Kelly a new trial, she will work on an appeal to present to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bonjean said she’s “looking forward to getting familiar with the record” in Kelly’s case. Prosecutors used the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) to bring charges against Kelly, which she called a “kitchen sink approach.”
“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 hasn’t abandoned his legal team from the previous trial. Bonjean will work with Deveraux Cannick, Thomas Farinella, and Nicole Blank Becker as they continue to work on sentencing issues.
Kelly faces 10 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in May.
Kelly is also facing charges in U.S. District Court in Chicago for running a scheme to buy back sex tapes he made with underage girls and to bribe or coerce witnesses in the 2008 child pornography trial against him in Cook County. He was acquitted of all charges in that trial. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber has set a trial date for August.