R.Kelly and his legal team are trying to avoid a life sentence.
With R.Kelly’s August trial date quickly approaching, the R&B singer and his legal time are trying to convince a judge to not give him a life sentence. Prosecutors believe R. Kelly (born Robert Sylvester Kelly) should be locked up for life after being convicted of sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering, bribery, and sex trafficking in September of 2021.
However, his defense team believes the “Ignition” singer deserves a much lighter sentence under Federal guidelines. R. Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean is asking a judge to sentence the singer to anywhere between 14 years and 17.5 years in prison instead of a life sentence. According to court documents, Bojean also denied the allegations that Aaliyah was used in a bribery.
As you may already know, R. Kelly infamously married Aaliyah in 1994 when she was only 15 years old and he was 27. Allegedly, R. Kelly had Aaliyah’s age altered to state she was 18 on the marriage certificate. Aaliyah’s parents reportedly had the illegal marriage annulled in February 1995. Now, R. Kelly’s lawyer is claiming that the singer was unaware that his associate–Demetrius Smith– bribed a government worker so he could marry late singer Aaliyah. According to legal documents, attorney Jennifer Bonjean said:
“The government’s evidence failed to show that Defendant knew that Demetrius Smith paid money to influence a public aid officer to produce an identification card for Aaliyah. The record is also devoid of any evidence that Defendant used Aaliyah in connection with the bribery. Of course, the bribery committed by Smith produced a fraudulent public aid card for Aaliyah. But it does not follow that Defendant used Aaliyah in the bribery.”
Jennifer Bonjean reportedly filed a motion looking to dismiss a number of pending charges against the singer. She also argued that the singer claimed a 16-year-old named Jerhonda tricked him into believing she was over the age of 18 and that he should not be punished for engaging with her. Bonjean explained:
“Jerhonda, a sophisticated 16-year-old, took great pains to get close to Defendant, including by misrepresenting her age. Defendant did nothing to seek out Jerhonda…Jerhonda admits that she falsely told R. Kelly that she was 19 years of age when they engaged in sexual conduct.”
“It is true that Jerhonda claims that she promptly confessed her real age of 16 to R. Kelly immediately after their first sexual encounter; however, even if this is true, Jerhonda’s testimony does not reveal that R. Kelly used any influence, undue or otherwise, to engage in sexual activity with her.”
Jennifer Bonjean previously made a name for herself after helping to free Bill Cosby from prison after the actor was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. According to reports, R. Kelly is guaranteed to serve time in jail. It appears his lawyers’ main goal is to assure that he does not receive a life sentence. In August, R. Kelly will face a jury in Cook County, Illinois, where he is charged with possession of child pornography and obstruction of justice. The “I Believe I Can Fly”singer also has a trial pending in Minnesota for allegedly engaging in prostitution with a minor.