R. Kelly has hired Bill Cosby’s high-profile attorney to help appeal his racketeering conviction in New York.
Chicago Tribune reported that Jennifer Bonjean, a New York-based lawyer, filed her appearance in the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’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 outlet that she plans to lead Kelly’s appeal and post-conviction motions, which are due on Monday (Nov. 1). However, she has requested a two-month extension.
Recall Bonjean spearheaded Cosby’s appeal of his sex crimes conviction in Pennsylvania and helped get the actor released from prison.
The attorney told the Chicago Tribune that she is “looking forward to getting familiar with the record” in the Chicago native’s case, which was driven by Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges.
“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. “It’s becoming a formula for the government. You have a right to defend yourself against specific allegations.”
Kelly was convicted of one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping and sex trafficking charges last month. He was also convicted of eight counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law that makes it illegal to move anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
Kelly’s sentencing is set for May 4, 2022, where he potentially faces 10 years to life in prison.
Last week, a Chicago judge set the date for the child pornography trial that he is facing in his home state. The disgraced singer being accused of recording his sexual encounters with multiple underage girls and bribing possible witnesses with cash and gifts to remain silent about his crimes. He is set to stand trial for those federal sex charges next August.