The attorney for convicted R&B singer R. Kelly is asking a federal judge to delay his sentencing until after his Chicago trial later this year, arguing they won’t be able to “protect (his) constitutional rights” without compromising his Fifth Amendment rights.
Kelly, 55, is currently scheduled to be sentenced on his racketeering conviction in New York in May. But in a motion filed before U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean expressed “grave concerns” that sentencing Kelly before his Chicago case goes to trial “could interfere with Mr. Kelly’s Fifth Amendment guarantees.”
“To put a finer point on it, undersigned counsel cannot advise Mr. Kelly to be examined or interviewed by a mitigation expert for sentencing in this case if his words might be used against him in some manner at his pending (Northern District of Illinois) trial,” Bonjean wrote. “Mr. Kelly should not have to compromise his Fifth Amendment rights in his pending criminal case in NDIL to develop and present comprehensive mitigation evidence in the instant case.”
A New York jury found Kelly guilty of nine counts, including racketeering, on its second day of deliberations last September.
The following month, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ordered Kelly to stand trial in Chicago on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in August 2022.
Following his conviction, Kelly faces the possibility of decades in prison for crimes including violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex trafficking law that prohibits taking anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
Bonjean argued that federal prosecutors are “not prejudiced” by pushing back the New York sentencing by three months
“Mr. Kelly is facing a serious and lengthy sentence of imprisonment; he should not have to forego presenting mitigation evidence at his sentencing hearing out of fear that his words could be used against him at his upcoming trial.”
Kelly, who was born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is also facing four separate indictments alleging sexual abuse in state court in Chicago and a child prostitution charge in Minnesota. He continues to be held at a federal lockup in Brooklyn.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.