/  02.01.2022

R. Kelly is asking for more time to appeal his sex trafficking convictions because he recently tested positive for COVID-19 and terminated most of his legal team.

According to Billboard, on Tuesday (Feb. 1), Jennifer Ann Bonjean, the disgraced singer’s remaining attorney, asked Judge Ann M. Donnelly for a two-week extension until Feb. 17 so Kelly would be able to file his post-trial motions challenging last year’s convictions, which could result in life behind bars. The delay was instantly approved by Judge Donnelly.

Tuesday’s filing also revealed that the “Step In The Name Of Love” singer was “parting ways” with the attorneys who represented him at last year’s trial. Attorneys Calvin Scholar and Devereaux Cannick have already moved to withdraw from the case, while lawyers Thomas A. Farinella and Nicole Blank Becker are planning to remove themselves soon.

As REVOLT previously reported, last September, Kelly was convicted of one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping and sex trafficking charges. He was also convicted of eight counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law that makes it illegal to move anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”

Following the guilty verdict, the Chicago vocalist hired Bonjean, who spearheaded Bill Cosby’s appeal of his sex crimes conviction in Pennsylvania that helped him get released from prison. Bonjean told the Chicago Tribune that she believes the government is manipulating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). “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,” the attorney said. “It’s becoming a formula for the government. You have a right to defend yourself against specific allegations.”

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