R. Kelly was slapped with a 30-year prison sentence in a New York City courtroom on Wednesday (June 29), news that quickly traveled around the world. The embattled R&B singer was facing between 10 years to life behind bars for sex trafficking and Judge Ann Donnelly certainly wasn’t conservative when handing down the sentence.
Unsurprisingly, Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean plans to appeal. During a post-sentencing press conference, Bonjean called the additional Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organization (RICO) act charge “inappropriate.”
“These were not a RICO act violation,” Bonjean said at the 2:36-minute mark. “These were isolated events that happened many years and the government simply tried to plead around the statute of limitations to bring in a RICO charge, which was inappropriate.
“All I can tell you is there was no enterprise. There was no enterprise. It was one man with allegations by a number of women, which doesn’t make it an enterprise, and that is why he’s not guilty of racketeering.
Bonjean added she was “excited” about the appeal and “confident” their arguments will persuade the court of appeals. She later admitted she advised Kelly to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent and not take the stand.
Bonjean expressed similar sentiments in February, with the Chicago Tribune publishing part of the 62-page motion for judgment of acquittal. As she explained in the document, “Invigorated by an influential social movement determined to punish centuries of male misbehavior through symbolic prosecutions of high-profile men, the government brought a RICO prosecution against (Kelly) that was ‘absurdly remote’ from the drafters’ intent.”
Regardless, Kelly was found guilty in September 2021 on all charges, which included sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, racketeering and sex trafficking involving five victims. In addition to the 30 years, he must also pay a $100,000 fine.