Whether or not they viewed the 2019 documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” was one of the questions posed to prospective jurors.
In a trial that might take up to four weeks, jury selection for singer R. Kelly’s federal trial on charges of child pornography and fixing his 2008 state conviction began on Monday in Chicago.
Whether or if prospective jurors viewed the 2019 documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” regarding sex claims against the R&B star is being investigated.
The defence of R. Kelly requested that anyone who has watched the movie be automatically disqualified from serving on the jury, but U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber denied their motion. However, the judge did question potential jurors regarding how much of the video they had seen, what they could recollect about it, and whether or not they thought they could be impartial.
In a pre-filled questionnaire, jurors were prompted to indicate whether they had seen the documentary.
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The judge interrogated roughly 60 potential jurors, and about half of them were rejected. A woman who claimed to have once taken martial arts lessons with R. Kelly’s kids was one of those dismissed.
Tuesday is the next scheduled day for jury selection.
His 2008 state trial, in which a jury cleared him of charges that he made a film of himself having sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 30, is seen as a remake of the federal trial. In that trial, R. Kelly is also charged with making threats against the woman and her parents and paying them off to keep them from testifying. None of them ultimately gave a testimony.
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Double jeopardy, which forbids the prosecution of a defendant for offences they have already been found not guilty of, does not apply in this case because the prosecution is charging the victim with other offences, including obstructing justice.
In the federal trial, the victim, who is now in her 30s, will serve as the primary witness for the prosecution. Several additional women who claimed R. Kelly assaulted them while they were children will also testify in the trial.
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The musician, 55, was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking in 2021 and given a 30-year prison sentence in New York. During that time, he utilised his reputation to sexually assault other young followers. He is contesting that judgement.