Defense attorneys for disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly are appealing his child pornography and enticement convictions, weeks after a federal judge in Chicago sentenced him to one additional year in prison on top of his previous 30-year sentence.
Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean on Thursday filed her notice with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. That move is not a surprise, as Bonjean last month noted her intent to appeal Kelly’s convictions on three child pornography and three child enticement charges.
Her comments came shortly after U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber issued her client a 20-year sentence on those convictions. But 19 of those years will be served concurrently with a separate 30-year sentence Kelly received in his previous racketeering and sex trafficking trial in New York.
That means Kelly will have to serve just one additional year in prison stemming from his Chicago case. Prosecutors had asked Leinenweber to sentenced Kelly to an additional 25 years in prison on top of that New York sentence, while Bonjean sought an 11-year concurrent sentence.
At trial in Chicago, four women — including Kelly’s own goddaughter — testified that he’d sexually abused them while they were minors.
Kelly’s goddaughter, who testified only under the name “Jane,” told jurors at trial that she indeed was the 14-year-old girl who appeared with Kelly in the three separate sex videos shown to jurors at trial.
During sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannice Appenteng pointed to Kelly's "absolute depravity” in preying on children in arguing for a sentence that would confine him to prison for the rest of his life. She said Kelly used Jane as a “sex prop” in the illicit videos, which “forever memorialized her abuse” and became part of the “social record” when made public.
Bonjean argued Kelly himself was sexually abused as a child, and his “horrific” upbringing shaped her client’s view of “women, sex and the world.”
Kelly has also already filed an appeal in his New York case. He currently remains held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
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