R. Kelly hopes to get a new trial or acquittal after his guilty conviction for racketeering and sex trafficking charges. According to Rolling Stone, his new lawyer Jennifer Bonjean filed motions on Thursday (Feb. 17) requesting the new legal proceedings. The motion for a new trial claims Kelly was denied his Sixth Amendment rights, which guarantees the right to a speedy, public trial, the right to a lawyer, the right to an impartial jury, and the right to know who your accusers are.
The argument also alleges Kelly was denied effective assistance of counsel when it came to examining potential jurors and claims that members of the jury saw the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly or were previously aware of sexual abuse allegations against the disgraced R&B singer, making the jury “neither fair nor impartial.”
In the motion, Kelly’s new attorney also claimed Kelly’s former counsel was engaged in a conflict of interest as one of his trial attorneys was simultaneously representing the defendant of a prosecutor’s witness, recognized as “Jane.” The motion alleges that although Kelly waived the conflict of interest after the court concluded that the lawyer had an attorney-client relationship with Jane, the motion alleges this was an “unwaivable conflict.”
Additionally, Bonjean also moved to have Kelly acquitted arguing the government failed to prove the racketeering charge as well as the other eight counts. The paperwork filed claimed the prosecution against Kelly was to punish him for alleged criminal behavior and activity that “could no longer be prosecuted by state and local agencies.”
“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,” shared Bonjean back in November 2021 when she began assisting Kelly.
“The government’s belated interest in protecting Defendant’s alleged victims does not justify application of the RICO statute to alleged private, sexual misconduct of the Defendant (and only the Defendant), even if some of that conduct could have been timely prosecuted by local authorities long ago,” read the paperwork according to Rolling Stone.
On Feb. 1, U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly ruled that Thursday (Feb. 17) was the deadline for the singer to fight his September 2021 conviction. At the time, Kelly had already begun working with Jennifer Bonjean as his new counsel. Bonjean’s work with Bill Cosby led to his early release from prison in June 2021. The singer’s initial legal team in the federal case requested to step down in January. According to the Chicago Tribune, Kelly officially hired Bonjean for his Chicago trial and dismissed his previous legal team on Wednesday (Feb. 16).
“That’s correct, your honor,” Kelly answered after U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber asked if he had stopped working with attorneys Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard.
R. Kelly is currently awaiting a May sentencing after being convicted on nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking charges on Sept. 27, 2021. He faces 10 years to life in prison.