With less than two months to go before former R&B superstar R. Kelly and two of his former associates go on trial in Chicago, sparks begin to fly.
But the most recent legal dispute hasn’t involved prosecutors at all, it’s between the defendants.
Attorneys for Kelly’s former manager, Derrel McDavid, on Wednesday criticized claims by the singer’s attorney that there may be a conflict of interest with McDavid’s legal team as “woefully misinformed or willfully misleading.”
The response also criticized Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, for what they called a “bogus” attempt to link one of McDavid’s current attorneys, Vadim Glozman, to famed Chicago defense attorney Edward Genson, who represented Kelly. in his 2008 Cook County child pornography trial that ended with an acquittal.
Glozman worked for Genson’s law practice from 2012 to 2017, when it closed due to Genson’s health issues. Genson died of cancer in 2020.
Calling for Kelly and McDavid to be tried separately, Bonjean said that parts of the alleged conspiracy between Kelly and McDavid to buy back alleged sex tapes “occurred at the law offices of Ed Genson.”
Bonjean also pointed to an interview Genson gave to a Chicago Sun-Times columnist in 2019, when he was in the advanced stages of terminal cancer, in which Genson said Kelly was “guilty as hell” and had helped keep the singer out. of trouble for a decade after her acquittal.
“Given that Glozman arguably owes a duty of loyalty to Kelly because he was a member of the firm that represented Kelly, he finds himself in a conflicted position,” Bonjean wrote. “This potential conflict may be an actual conflict if Glozman possesses inside information that he may or may use to the benefit of his client or to the detriment of Mr. Kelly in a joint lawsuit.”
In response, McDavid’s legal team called that claim “untrue, insulting, and perhaps worse: nonsensical.”
The Sun-Times column, his motion said, left out that a heavily medicated Genson was “rushed to the hospital shortly after the interview took place and that the interviewer only entered Mr. Genson’s home under false pretenses.”
“Relying solely on the manipulative interview of a dying man with terminal cancer and the drugs that treat him is not the portrait of the thoughtful search for the truth,” said the motion by Glozman, Beau Brindley and Blair Westover.
In an emailed statement Wednesday, Sun-Times acting editor-in-chief Steve Warmbir said the paper “fully stands behind your 2019 interview with Ed Genson.”
“The columnist did not do anything remotely inappropriate in regards to the interview with Mr. Genson, who was quite lucid at the time,” Warmbir said.
The motion also revealed for the first time that the Illinois Lawyers Regulatory and Disciplinary Commission, which investigates wrongdoing by attorneys, investigated Genson’s statements “and the decision was made that Mr. Genson’s license would not be affected.” ”.
This week’s back-and-forth motions have added to the myriad of issues surrounding Kelly’s federal case in Chicago, which is scheduled to go to trial on August 1.
Kelly is accused of conspiring with McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, longtime associates, to manipulate their 2008 child pornography case and hide years of alleged sexual abuse of underage girls.
Kelly, 55, also faces between 10 years and life in prison after being sentenced on September 27 in the US District Court in Brooklyn on racketeering conspiracy charges that allege he used his music career to promote a criminal enterprise.
Other indictments alleging sexual abuse by Kelly filed in Cook County in February 2019 have not yet been 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 center in Brooklyn.
In other pending motions, Bonjean has asked US District Judge Harry Leinenweber to grant him access to records from a federal investigation first revealed by the Tribune showing that a US Bureau of Prisons officer .was suspected of illegally accessing Kelly’s recorded phone calls, emails and visitor logs. and other restricted information in 2019, when he was housed at the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Federal investigators said in a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Tribune that the information was later leaked to Tasha K, a popular YouTube personality, who revealed it publicly in a series of scoops about the singer and their tumultuous relationships.
No one has been publicly charged as part of that investigation, however, Bonjean wrote in his motion Monday that he has “a good faith basis to believe that the stolen information was also provided to a government informant who may have shared such information with government witnesses at the government’s behest.”