R. Kelly officially cuts ties with Chicago legal team, hires Bill Cosby’s appellate attorney…..

Convicted R&B singer R. Kelly on Wednesday officially cut ties with his original Chicago legal team and opted to have the attorney who successfully appealed Bill Cosby’s conviction to defend him against pending abuse allegations in federal court here.

During a telephone conference Wednesday morning, Kelly, who is awaiting sentencing in a Brooklyn federal jail for his racketeering conviction in New York last year, said he wanted Jennifer Bonjean to represent him in the Chicago case, which is currently set for a jury trial in August.

“That’s correct, your honor,” Kelly answered after U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber asked if he was parting ways with his original Chicago-based attorneys, Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard.

Earlier this month, Kelly’s three trial attorneys from the New York case also withdrew their appearances.

That leaves Bonjean, who was the driving force behind comedian Bill Cosby’s appeal of his sex crimes conviction in Pennsylvania and wound up winning the actor’s stunning release from prison.

Bonjean made headlines locally last month when she was the subject of disparaging remarks by a Cook County judge who apparently did not realize his microphone had been left on after a remote court hearing.

She was already working on an appeal in Kelly’s New York case and is due to file post-trial motions before U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly on Thursday.

Complicating matters is that Kelly has two co-defendants in the Chicago case — longtime associates Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown — who’ve indicated they will object to further delays.

“We need this to go to trial,” Judge Leinenweber told Bonjean, who assured him she would do her best to get up to speed.

Kelly, 54, was convicted Sept. 27 on racketeering conspiracy charges, alleging he used his music career to further a criminal enterprise. The jury found him guilty of 12 individual illegal acts, including sex with multiple underage girls as well as a 1994 scheme to bribe an Illinois public aid official to get a phony ID for 15-year-old singer Aaliyah so the two could get married.

He faces 10 years to life in prison when he’s sentenced in May.

The singer also is charged in U.S. District Court in Chicago with running a yearslong scheme to buy back sex tapes he allegedly made with underage girls and to bribe or coerce witnesses in his 2008 child pornography trial in Cook County, which ended in acquittal. Read More

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