R. Kelly‘s lawyer is seeking to reverse his 30-year prison sentence or win him a new trial and spoke to New York judges about this matter.

On Monday (March 19), documents obtained by XXL show that R. Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean filed an argument notice on Feb. 7 and that her argument was heard on Monday. Bonjean told three judges on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that prosecutors made a mistake when they charged Kelly with a racketeering statute. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years on sex trafficking charges back in 2022. Bonjean argued that the law used to convict Kelly of racketeering meant multiple organizations, including even college fraternities, constituted as racketeering organizations.

“This was not a collection of people who had a purpose to recruit girls for sexual abuse or child pornography,” Bonjean said during the hearing, according to AP. “Whether they turned a blind eye, whether some of them suspected that some of these girls were underage, that’s a whole different matter.”

She continued, “And once we get into that sort of territory, where we’re going to say that constitutes a RICO enterprise, well we have a lot of organizations — we have a lot of frat houses — we have all types of organizations that are now going to become RICO enterprises.”

Judges did not immediately make a ruling on the appeal.

When reached for comment, Bonjean told XXL: “Mr. Kelly was charged under a RICO theory that makes nonsense of the RICO statute. Because the statute of limitations expired on the individual charges, the government stretched the law beyond all recognition to fit Kelly. If the court of appeals sanctions this, the government will do it again. It won’t end with R. Kelly. You can bet on that.”

 

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The latest appeal filing comes as R. Kelly also seeks to combat a recent $10.5 million judgment against him. He claims he couldn’t read the lawsuit, which was filed by six women who sued Kelly and his alleged former manager Donnell Russell for trying to shutter a screening of the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries in a New York City theater.

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Author: Mackenzie Cummings-Grady
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