By Brett Rowland

SYCAMORE – A Kingston man accused of raping two girls at a party on his 18th birthday has hired an additional lawyer who has experience in high-profile criminal cases.

Brenton W. Cleveland, 18, of the 34700 block of Glidden Road, Kingston, was charged with unlawful restraint, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault on May 27. If convicted of the most serious charge, criminal sexual assault, he could be sentenced to four to 15 years in prison.

After his arrest, Cleveland hired St. Charles-based attorney R. James Haule. At a court appearance Tuesday, criminal defense attorney Gary Johnson appeared alongside Haule. Johnson declined to comment on the case or why he was retained, but said Thursday that he would serve as co-counsel with Haule in representing Cleveland.

Johnson was elected Kane County state’s attorney in 1988 and served through 1992. He didn’t seek a second term, according to a history of the office.

Johnson successfully defended Stephen Buckley, one of three men indicated for the 1983 murder of Jeanine Nicarico. Another man, Brian Dugan, pleaded guilty to the crime in 2009. Later, Buckley and the two other men initially charged with the murder successfully sued DuPage County for wrongful prosecution, according to Associated Press reports.

Johnson also represented accused cop killer Manuel Salazar in Joliet in his retrial. Salazar was ultimately released, according to a biography posted on Johnson’s website.

Cleveland is next due in court Dec. 20.