CHICAGO (AP) — Jury selections for the federal trial of tampering charges in R. Kelly’s 2008 state child pornography trial begin Monday, with judges and attorneys expected to serve as jurors. immediately noted whether they had seen the 2019 documentary about sexual abuse allegations against R&B. singer.
After rejecting a request by Kelly’s attorneys to automatically exclude anyone from jurors who watched the six-part documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber has ruled juror nominees. , asked how long they had watched and what they could recall. And if they are elected, whether they are fair.
Jurors were asked if they had seen the documentary on a questionnaire they had already filled out. In one instance, a woman who left her response blank admitted to watching a few episodes, but she was not immediately excused from her service.
Overall, the judge dismissed at least half of the about 60 jury candidates he questioned on Monday. Among those fired were an elementary school teacher who said it was difficult to be impartial given the subject matter of the trial, a man who said many of his close friends were Chicago cops, and Kelly’s martial arts class. This included a woman who said she had. The kids.
Among the jury candidates was a man with a graduate degree in classical music, and several others who said they had seen parts of Kelly’s documentary but assured the judge that they could give the singer a fair trial. There was
Jury selection was scheduled to resume on Tuesday.
The trial will focus on whether Kelly threatened and paid money to a girl who allegedly videotaped her having sex when she was around 30 and under the age of 14. She had no choice because the girl did not testify. The woman, who is now in her 30s and is only referred to as “Minor 1” in her filings, is scheduled to be the government’s star witness in a federal trial expected to last four weeks.
Kelly also faces multiple counts of producing and receiving child pornography.
Kelly, 55, was sentenced in 2021 to 30 years in prison by a New York federal judge after being found guilty of using her fame to sexually abuse other young fans.
Dressed in a light gray suit, yellow dress shirt, tie and black-rimmed glasses, Kelly waved briefly to potential jurors when attorney Jennifer Bonjean introduced him. Kelly also had everyone entering the court wear a surgical mask as part of COVID-19 protocols.
After escaping poverty to become a star singer, songwriter and producer on Chicago’s South Side, Kelly faces multiple charges in federal court. They include his four counts of sexual temptation of minors. They will also testify.
The New York sentencing alone puts Kelly at about 80 years old before he is eligible for early release. Yes. One conviction of producing child pornography carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Two of Kelly’s colleagues, Derell McDavid and Milton Brown, are co-defendants in the Chicago trial. McDavid was accused of helping Kelly fix a 2008 trial, and Brown was charged with receiving child pornography.
Two state lawsuits are also pending. One is multiple sexual abuse lawsuits filed in Chicago’s Cook County Circuit Court. Another is the Minnesota solicitation case. Neither has a trial period.
Minor 1 is expected to testify that she was in the video having sex with Kelly. The recording was central to her month-long trial in 2008 and was played almost daily for the jury.
Minor 1 first met Kelly in the late 1990s, when she was in middle school. She was tagging along to Kelly’s Chicago recording studio with her aunt, a professional singer who works with Kelly. Soon after, Minor 1 told her parents that Kelly was going to be her godmother.
Prosecutors say Kelly subsequently threatened and demanded payment to keep Minor 1 and his parents from testifying in 2008.
The double jeopardy rule prohibits prosecuting someone for the same crime for which they were previously acquitted. This is not the case in a federal trial, as prosecutors have alleged a variety of crimes related to Minor 1, including obstruction of justice.
Follow AP Legal Writer Michael Tarm on Twitter. https://twitter.com/mtarm
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.