The New York attorney who appealed on behalf of Bill Cosby and helped get his sexual assault conviction overturned has now joined R. Kelly’s legal team.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Jennifer Bonjean will lead the charge on efforts to challenge the disgraced singer’s recent conviction on racketeering and sex trafficking charges in Brooklyn–which came after weeks of grueling testimony from over 40 witnesses for the prosecution and a swift guilty verdict.
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She said she’s “looking forward to getting familiar with the record” in Kelly’s case, which was anchored by Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act 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,” Bonjean said. “It’s becoming a formula for the government. You have a right to defend yourself against specific allegations.”
Bonjean said she saw similar government overreach in another high-profile case she’s handling: NXIVM sex-cult leader Keith Raniere, who was convicted under the RICO statute in the same courthouse as Kelly.
The website for Bonjean’s Manhattan-based law firm states that she and her partners “tackle difficult cases in the interest of justice,” and “fight for individuals whose rights have been violated by the criminal justice system.”
The overturning of Cosby’s 2018 sexual assault conviction in June is listed among the firm’s notable cases. It should be noted that the actor was released from his three to ten-year prison sentence because those prosecuting his case violated an agreement he made with a previous prosecutor that protected him from being criminally charged for Andrea Constand’s sexual assault.
In other words, he was released on a legal technicality and not because he was found innocent by the court. This continues to be an important distinction to note because Cosby and many others have and will argue otherwise.
Bonjean told the Tribune that if Brooklyn’s U.S. District Court denies a retrial for Kelly, the next step is to appeal before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.