R. Kelly’s attorney wants access to evidence in an ongoing probe into the singer’s leaked jail calls and says he should be tried separately from his longtime associate in part because of a potential conflict with the associate’s attorney.
The pair of motions filed Monday evening add to the myriad issues surrounding Kelly’s federal case in Chicago, which is set to go to trial in less than two months. Kelly is also scheduled to be sentenced June 15 for his racketeering conviction in New York.
In the first motion, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, sought records from a federal investigation first revealed by the Tribune showing that a U.S. Bureau of Prisons officer was suspected of illegally accessing Kelly’s recorded phone calls, emails, visitor logs and other restricted information in 2019, when he was housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on West Van Buren Street.
Federal investigators said in a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Tribune that the information was then leaked to Tasha K, a popular YouTube personality who revealed it publicly in a series of inside scoops on the singer and his tumultuous relationships.
No one has been publicly charged as part of that probe, however Bonjean wrote in her motion Monday that she has “a good faith basis to believe that the stolen information was also provided to a government informant who may have shared said information with government witnesses at the behest of the government.”
“(Kelly) is entitled to discover who was interviewed as part of the investigation, what information was stolen, whether it included attorney-client phone calls or communications and whether such information was shared with prosecutors, their agents, or government witnesses,” Bonjean wrote.
The female officer, who at the time worked as a disciplinary hearing officer at a federal prison in Wisconsin, accessed Kelly’s records more than 150 times in a six-month period in 2019 even though the officer was not assigned to the MCC and “had no official reason” to be looking them up, according to the 24-page document.
The officer, identified only as Officer A, also emailed herself a 12-page scan of Kelly’s jail records, according to the affidavit.
The officer retired in December 2019, according to the affidavit.
Bonjean’s second motion filed Monday asked U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber to sever Kelly’s case from the charges against his former associate Derrel McDavid, saying they have “mutually antagonistic defenses” and that one of McDavid’s attorneys could have a conflict because of his partnership with one one of Kelly’s previous attorneys
McDavid is accused of paying off the alleged victim in Kelly’s child pornography case that ended with an acquittal in Cook County in 2008. He also is charged with conspiring with Kelly to secure other videotapes allegedly depicting Kelly engaged in sexual activity with minors.
Bonjean said the evidence will show McDavid was operating without Kelly’s knowledge. She also said she “has every intention of presenting evidence that McDavid embezzled and defrauded Kelly, along with a host of other employees,” which could compromise McDavid’s right to a fair trial.
Also at issue, according to Bonjean, is a potential conflict with McDavid’s attorney, Vadim Glozman, who previously worked in the law offices of famed Chicago defense Edward Genson, who died in 2020.
Bonjean said parts of the alleged conspiracy to buy back damning sex tapes was orchestrated by Kelly’s legal team at the time and “occurred in the law offices of Ed Genson.”
“Because Glozman arguably owes a duty of loyalty to Kelly because he was a member of the firm that represented Kelly, he is in a conflicted position,” Bonjean wrote. “This potential conflict may be an actual conflict if Glozman possesses privileged information that he may or can use to the benefit of his client or to the detriment of Mr. Kelly at a joint trial.”
Reached by email Tuesday, Glozman had no comment.
The motions leave much to be decided in Kelly’s case with just 10 weeks before trial. Also unresolved are several filings asking to throw out various counts of the indictment. Leinenweber has set a status hearing for June 15, though that’s the same day that Kelly is supposed to be sentenced in New York.
Kelly, 55, is charged in an indictment brought in Chicago in July 2019 with conspiring with longtime associates McDavid and Milton “June” Brown to rig his 2008 child pornography case in Cook County and hide years of alleged sexual abuse of underage girls.
He is also facing anywhere from 10 years to life in prison after being convicted Sept. 27 in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on racketeering conspiracy charges alleging he used his music career to further a criminal enterprise.
Other indictments alleging sexual abuse by Kelly brought in Cook County in February 2019 have yet to be scheduled for trial.
Kelly, who has been in custody since his arrest in downtown Chicago in July 2019, is currently being held without bond at a federal detention facility in Brooklyn.