Music

R. Kelly Hires Bill Cosby’s Appellate Attorney After Losing His Chicago Legal Team

The Chicago Tribune reports that R. Kelly, who was recently convicted on charges of racketeering in New York, has dismissed his Chicago-based legal team to employ the attorney who successfully appealed Bill Cosby’s conviction as his defense for his upcoming Chicago sex abuse case. Calling into court from the Brooklyn jail where he’s awaiting sentencing in his prior conviction, Kelly told US District Judge Harry Leinenweber that he was switching representation to Jennifer Bonjean for the August trial.

Bonjean represented Cosby’s appeal in Pennsylvania after he was convicted of sexual assault in 2018. The conviction was overturned by a split court which found that Cosby had been unfairly prosecuted due to an agreement made with a previous district attorney in exchange for his cooperation in a civil lawsuit from one of his alleged victims. The incriminating statements he made while under this agreement were used as a driving factor in his eventual conviction, which caused justices reviewing the appeal to write, “Denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade.”

Bonjean is already working on Kelly’s New York appeal, for which he was granted an extension due to a COVID-19 diagnosis. However, she’ll have little time to get up to speed on the Chicago case; Kelly’s two co-defendants, Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, want the case to proceed to trial on schedule. Meanwhile, Kelly could receive up to 10 years in federal prison when he’s sentenced in May. Meanwhile, his Chicago case primarily revolves around his efforts to bribe or coerce witnesses in his 2008 child pornography trial. Incidentally, Cosby says he believes R. Kelly was railroaded.

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