Singer R. Kelly has asked the appeals court to overturn his 30-year prison sentence.

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R. Kelly’s attorney told an appeals court on Monday that legitimate organizations of all types — even college fraternities — can be considered racketeering organizations under a law that has been used for decades to sexually exploit young fans, including children. The R&B superstar was set to plead guilty in a Brooklyn trial of exploitation.

Attorney Jennifer Bonjean, seeking to overturn her 2021 conviction or win a new trial, tried to convince three judges in the 2nd S Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that prosecutors wrote a racketeering indictment to shut down organized crime. The law was used inappropriately. singer.

He said it was unfair that prosecutors accused Kelly, 57, of leading a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) enterprise from 1994 to 2018 that compromised individuals who promoted his music and exploited women and girls. Recruited to engage in illegal sexual activities. Produce child pornography.

Attorney Jennifer Bonjean R. Kelly’s 2021 conviction is sought to be overturned. AFP via Getty Images

Bonjean said, “This was not a group of people whose purpose was to recruit girls for sexual exploitation or child pornography.” “Whether they turned a blind eye, whether some of them suspected that some of these girls were underage, that is a completely different matter.

“And once we get to the kind of area where we’re going to say this is a RICO enterprise, we have a lot of organizations – we have a lot of frat houses – we have all kinds of There are organizations that are now going to become RICO enterprises,” he said in support of the Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling songwriter.

R. Kelly received a 30-year prison sentence in 2022. reuters

The judges did not immediately rule, but they had plenty of questions for Bonjean and a prosecutor who defended the government’s handling of the case, resulting in a 30-year prison sentence in June 2022.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kayla Bensing said Kelly’s network of associates and employees were part of the singer’s “system that attracted young people into his orbit” before he “took over their lives.”

At the trial, several women testified that they were ordered to sign non-disclosure forms and faced punishments such as threats and violent beatings if they broke what they called “Robb’s Rules.”

Some judges questioned whether the staff knew about Kelly’s illegal activities with teenage girls.

The judges questioned whether the staff knew about Kelly’s illicit activities with teenage girls. alec tabac

“What evidence is there that the workers arranging these things knew they were underage? Circuit Judge Denny Chin asked.

The prosecutor responded by citing several examples of testimony, including one woman who testified that she told a member of Kelly’s entourage that she was 16 when he asked her age.

Others knew some of the girls were not yet 18 because they had booked flights for them and required the girls to provide their dates of birth, he said.

“So all this evidence is that the jury was right to infer that Kelly’s inner circle knew what was going on. He was recruiting and maintaining underage women for sexual activity, Bensing said.

At trial, several women testified that they were ordered to sign non-disclosure forms and faced threats and punishments. reuters

“Members of the enterprise heard Kelly beating his girlfriends, they knew Kelly was isolating his victims and they helped him do so, including watching them while locked in a bus for long periods of time. This also included imposing penalties such as possession,” he added.

Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is best known for work including the 1996 hit “I Believe I Can Fly” and the cult classic “Trapped in the Closet,” a multi-part tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue. There is a story.

Even after allegations of his abuse of young girls were publicly aired in the 1990s, he was loved by a large number of fans and sold millions of albums.

He was acquitted of child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, but a second trial in Chicago in 2022 ended with his conviction on charges of producing child pornography and luring girls for sex.

Widespread outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct did not come to light until the #MeToo discussion, peaking after the release of the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly”.

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