R. Kelly’s lawyer points to technicalities, argues singer deserves acquittal or new trial in Chicago

Kelly is already serving a 30-year prison sentence for a racketeering conviction in New York. His time behind bars is likely to increase when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber.

SHARE R. Kelly’s lawyer points to technicalities, argues singer deserves acquittal or new trial in Chicago
Singer R. Kelly sits between his lawyers during his federal trial in Chicago last year.

R. Kelly’s lawyer argues the singer should be acquitted or get a new trial in Chicago.

L.D. Chukman for the Sun-Times

Convicted R&B superstar R. Kelly’s defense attorney argued Tuesday he deserved to get a new trial or be acquitted on technical grounds despite a federal jury in Chicago finding him guilty on child pornography charges this summer.

The arguments advanced by Kelly defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean mostly echo the ones she made during Kelly’s trial at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. That trial ended with Kelly’s conviction on three counts of producing child pornography and three counts of enticing a minor into criminal sexual activity.

Bonjean wrote in a pair of motions that prosecutors failed to prove all of the elements required to convict Kelly for those crimes. She said their evidence failed to show Kelly sexually abused a teenage girl for the “purpose” of producing child pornography, or that the images moved in interstate or foreign commerce, such as crossing state lines.

She also wrote that prosecutors failed to show Kelly took steps to “persuade, induce, entice, or coerce” three victims into sexual activity.

Finally, she argued that an expert witness offered by prosecutors who testified about the grooming of minors into sexual abuse testified falsely about his hourly rate and the amount of time he spent preparing for trial. She said he testified his rate was $250 when his contract really called for $450. She also said he testified he spent two hours preparing for trial when he billed the feds for 6.5 hours.

The motions filed by Bonjean on Tuesday are routine and rarely granted. Prosecutors are set to respond by Dec. 6. Kelly is already serving a 30-year prison sentence for a racketeering conviction in New York. His time behind bars is likely to increase when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber.

Kelly’s sentencing hearing before Leinenweber is set for Feb. 23.

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