What Happened To Jennifer Bonjean From The Bill Cosby Case?

New York-based attorney Jennifer Bonjean is perhaps best known for her representation of Bill Cosby in his quest to have his criminal sexual assault conviction overturned. As reported by CNN, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault on April 26, 2018. He was subsequently sentenced to three to 10 years in prison.

In December 2020, Bonjean appeared before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Cosby's behalf and argued that his conviction should be overturned. According to Bonjean Law Group, she argued that Cosby's plea agreement, which he made with a prosecutor who later stepped back from the case, should have been honored. In that agreement, Cosby would have avoided criminal prosecution. However, as the new prosecutor failed to follow through with the agreement, Bonjean said Cosby's rights to due process were violated. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ultimately agreed with Bonjean's assessment, and Cosby's conviction was vacated in June 2021. On June 30, Cosby was released from prison, having served the minimum sentence of three years.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

She has represented several high-profile clients

Although the Bill Cosby case brought international attention — and a degree of resentment — to Jennifer Bonjean, the attorney has an impressive background and has represented several high-profile clients who she believes were either wrongly accused or wrongfully convicted.

A native of Valparaiso, Indiana, Bonjean Law Group reports Bonjean attended Chicago's De Paul University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. She then moved to New York, where she earned a master's degree in music in opera performance at the Manhattan School of Music. In her spare time, Bonjean volunteered at the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, where she counseled victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In the course of her volunteer work, Bonjean worked closely with several prosecutors who supported victims who wanted their abusers criminally charged, and she felt the victims were often let down by the system. As she wanted to make a difference, she made the choice to attend law school and become an attorney.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Jennifer Bonjean fought for the release of Jason Gray

As reported by Bonjean Law Group, Jennifer Bonjean initially planned to become a prosecutor. However, as she thought she could help more people as a defense attorney, she planned to work as a public defender. While in law school, Bonjean interned with the Capital Litigation Division of the Illinois State Appellate Defender's Office, where she assisted with death penalty appeals. Upon graduation, she was hired by the same office.

Bonjean's first high-profile case involved a man named Jason Gray, who insisted he was wrongly accused and convicted in a triple homicide. At the age of 15, Gray was sentenced to life in prison, and he appealed directly to Bonjean for her assistance in filing an appeal. Although it took more than 10 years, Bonjean secured Gray's releases. Bonjean went on to form the Bonjean Law Group, where she primarily argues civil rights litigations and criminal defense cases, with a specific focus on appeals and post-conviction work.

She has received stark criticism for her work

In addition to Bill Cosby and Jason Gray, Jennifer Bonjean has represented at least seven clients whose convictions were eventually overturned. According to Bonjean Law Group, she has also successfully settled or tried more than 1980 civil rights cases. But although Bonjean has received praise for her representation of those whose civil rights have been violated — and specifically her representation of victims of police brutality — she has received stark criticism for her defense of those convicted of violent crimes.

On one occasion, she was disparaged by a judge, who did not realize he was still being recorded at the conclusion of a hearing. As reported by AP News, Cook County Judge William Raines said about Bonjean, "Can you imagine waking up next to her every day? Oh, my God! I couldn't have a visual on that if you paid me." In response, Bonjean said the judge's remarks were "sexist and offensive."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

She is now representing R. Kelly

Most recently, Jennifer Bonjean has been representing singer, songwriter, and producer Robert Sylvester Kelly — whose stage name is R. Kelly. As reported by BBC, Kelly has been accused of multiple crimes, including sexual abuse and sex trafficking of teenage girls. In September 2021, Kelly was convicted on eight counts of sex trafficking and one count of racketeering. He was also convicted of the sexual exploitation of a child. Kelly was subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison. In a separate trial, which began in August 2022, he is being charged with possessing sexual images of underage girls and obstruction of justice. He is also facing charges of sexual abuse in Illinois and Minnesota.

According to CNN, Bonjean said Kelly "accepts that he is a flawed individual. But he is not this one-dimensional monster that the government has portrayed and the media has portrayed."

Jennifer Bonjean said R. Kelly's childhood abuse should be taken into consideration

In July 2022, ABC News reports Jennifer Bonjean filed a notice of appeal concerning R. Kelly's 30-year sentence and racketeering charges. As reported by Revolt, Bonjean said the 30-year sentence was too harsh. She pointed to Kelly's childhood "involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence"  and said it should have been taken into consideration, and he should have received a reduced sentence. Bonjean also contends Kelly did not commit any offenses that would qualify as racketeering. She said (via Revolt), "These were isolated events that happened many years ago and the government simply tried to plead around the statute of limitations to bring it in a RICO charge, which was inappropriate."

Amid his latest trial, The Charlotte Observer reports Bonjean said Kelly was vulnerable as he has struggled with intellectual challenges. She blamed the people he relied on to manage his career for leading him astray. In her opinion, "Mr. Kelly can also be a victim." Bonjean admitted that "Kelly is imperfect" and "on his journey from poverty to stardom, he stumbled along the way." However, she said he is not guilty of the crimes he is being charged with and believes he will be found not guilty.