Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly has hired Bill Cosby’s lawyer to help appeal his racketeering conviction in New York. The Chicago Tribune reports that on Friday, Jennifer Bonjean, a New York-based lawyer, filed her appearance in Kelly’s case in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, where the musician was convicted on sex abuse and racketeering charges last month.
Bonjean told the Chicago Tribune she will lead Kelly’s post-conviction motions, adding that should U.S. District Judge Anne Donnelly deny the singer a new trial, she will work on an appeal before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The post-trial motions are due on Monday, November 1, however, Bonjean has requested a two-month extension.
Bonjean led Cosby’s appeal of his sex crimes conviction in Pennsylvania and helped get him released from prison.
The lawyer in her interview with the Chicago Tribune said she is “looking forward to getting familiar with the record” in the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’s case, which was driven by Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges that 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. It’s becoming a formula for the government. You have a right to defend yourself against specific allegations,” Bonjean said.
Kelly was convicted last month on all counts in his New York sex-trafficking trial. A jury convicted the 54-year-old singer on all nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering after less than two days of deliberations. Kelly had been accused of grooming and sexually abusing women and underage girls. The charges include one count of racketeering and eight counts of illegally transporting people across state lines for the purpose of sex.
Kelly, who has been behind bars since his arrest in July 2019, will not be sentenced until May 4. Although Kelly was found guilty of the charges filed against him in New York, he faces similar charges in three federal and state cases in Illinois and Minnesota.
In Illinois, the singer still faces child pornography charges while in Minnesota, he faces charges related to prostitution involving a minor. Both of those charges were brought against him in 2019.