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Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Jason Meisner and Megan Crepeau

R. Kelly’s attorneys ask for new trial, alleging victim misled jurors about seeking restitution for past abuse

Attorneys for imprisoned singer R. Kelly alleged in a new court filing that the star witness against him in his federal trial in Chicago last year lied to the jury about her plans to seek millions of dollars in restitution from Kelly upon his conviction.

The long-shot motion filed Saturday asked U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber to throw out Kelly’s conviction on all counts related to “Jane,” his former goddaughter who testified that Kelly repeatedly sexually abused her on videotape when she was a teenager.

Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, argued in the eight-page filing that Jane falsely denied under oath that she had made a decision about whether she would seek restitution from Kelly. Prosecutors also misled the jury by failing to correct Jane’s testimony, Bonjean said.

When she was asked about it on cross-examination in August, Jane testified she was aware she could seek money from Kelly if he was found guilty, but that she was, “still undecided with that.”

“You haven’t decided whether you’re going to seek restitution?” Bonjean asked Jane at trial, to which she responded, “No.”

In truth, Bonjean wrote, Jane had already hired a Boston-based lawyer and a team of experts to present a restitution package to Leinenweber asking for a “whopping” $13 million.

“She knew full well she was seeking restitution in an extraordinary amount if (Kelly) was convicted,” “Bonjean wrote. “The government knew it too.”

Bonjean attached the lawyer’s receipt for legal services showing he’d billed Jane nearly $55,000 for his services — costs that prosecutors are now saying Kelly should pay.

Like other post-trial motions filed by Kelly’s legal team, Leinenweber is almost certain to deny this latest attempt to get the conviction tossed. But the motion preserves arguments that likely will be made later in an appeal to the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Kelly, 56, was convicted by a jury in September on charges including child pornography related to his years of sexual abuse of “Jane,” and other girls. He was acquitted, however, of the explosive allegations that he rigged his initial Cook County trial in 2008.

Leinenweber has set sentencing for Feb. 23, where Kelly will face anywhere from 10 to 90 years behind bars.

Kelly has already been sentenced to 30 years after a jury in New York found him guilty of racketeering conspiracy charges alleging his musical career doubled as a criminal enterprise aimed at satisfying his predatory sexual desires.

Last week, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced she was dropping four separate Cook County indictments against Kelly, in part to conserve resources given his two federal convictions.


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