Artist News Legal

R Kelly lawyer argues that jail terms from his two sexual abuse convictions should run concurrently

By | Published on Monday 13 February 2023

R Kelly

R Kelly’s lawyer last week asked the court in Chicago where her client was last year found guilty of enticing minors to engage in criminal sexual activity to show leniency when sentencing the musician.

Prosecutors in the Chicago case are pushing for a jail sentence of between ten and 90 years. Though Kelly, of course, is already in jail having been found guilty in a New York court of running a criminal enterprise in order to access and abuse women and teenagers.

He was sentenced to 30 years in the New York case. In a legal filing last week, lawyer Jennifer Bonjean argued that the judge in the Chicago case shouldn’t sentence her client to any more than fourteen years in prison, adding that that sentence should also be served concurrently with the New York jail time, rather than being added on top.

On that latter point, the lawyer noted in her court filing that Kelly is currently 56. “A consecutive sentence will serve no specific deterrent”, she wrote, “as Kelly is likely to die in prison either way. Even if he beat the statistical odds, he would not be released from prison until well into his 80s, long after he is a threat of any kind to the general public”.

Bonjean also argued that her client has already been treated particularly harshly regarding the prosecutions he has faced and the sentencing in the New York case.

That claim is mainly justified based on how other famous musicians – especially white musicians – about whom allegations of sexual misconduct were made have been treated in the past by both prosecutors and society at large.

“The government (and society at large) have reserved a unique, unprecedented contempt for Kelly that is wanting as to his similarly situated white counterparts”, she wrote. “In fact, iconic white musicians like Elvis Presley, who married his fourteen year old girlfriend, are currently being celebrated in Academy-nominated movies”.

“In contrast”, she went on, “the government argues that one life sentence isn’t enough for Kelly. No one will be deterred by a consecutive sentence in this case because no one believes that they will ever face the punishment Kelly has faced for the same exact conduct”.

While seeking a more lenient sentence, Bonjean is also handling appeal claims for Kelly in relation to both of his convictions.