R. Kelly’s attorneys want any potential jury members who’ve heard about ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ initiation-chain may have been removed

R in Chicago. Jury selection in Kelly’s federal trial began Monday, with a judge questioning 30 potential jurors about what they knew about the R&B star and the charges against him.

Shortly before court began, Kelly, dressed in a gray suit and tan shirt, was brought into the large formal courtroom at the Durksen US Courthouse and took his seat at a crowded defense table, bowing several times to his face. lawyer whispering to cover up

The identities of potential jurors are being shielded from the public during the proceedings, and little was disclosed about them because US District Judge Harry Leinenweber asked each person to clarify the answers they had given on a written questionnaire.

Before announcing a lunch break around 1 p.m., the judge questioned 30 people one by one, sacking 16 of them, most of whom told them they had to be fair to Kelly or her co-defendants. I will have trouble.

“Thinking about the case and the allegations over the weekend, I can no longer believe strongly that I can be impartial,” one woman said at the beginning of the interrogation. Leninweber immediately forgave him.

Another woman said she went to tae kwon do classes with Kelly’s kids years ago, and the experience may have prevented her from being fair.

Another woman said her work included advocating for children.

“I will do my best to be fair, to be fair. My only concern will be the start of the defensive side, probably,” she said, before Leinenweber pardoned her.

Some of the inquiries revolved around the documentary “Surviving Are Kelly”, which several potential jurors said they had seen or at least heard about.

One woman said she saw the whole thing, but it wouldn’t affect her ability to be fair — prompting some audible mockery of some Kelly supporters watching from the courtroom gallery.

. Another man said that he watched part of an episode with his wife but did not remember anything about it.

“I think I must have slept even before the end of it,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether the other potential jurors questioned on Monday will eventually join the panel. Leinenweber said he wants a pool of at least 40 before moving on to the next phase, when prosecutors and defense lawyers will use their standing strikes to further pull the panel out.

Before the selection of the jury began at approximately 10:45, Leinenweber ran through several pre-judgment decisions, ruling in favor of prosecutors on several high-profile requests.

The judge denied Kelly’s request for more records about communications with co-defendant Darrell McDavid, a key witness and Jim DeRogatis, a former Kelly prosecutor. He also rejected McDavid’s argument that prosecutors broke the chain of custody over a crucial video, saying a witness is expected to confirm its authenticity under oath.

He also approved prosecutors’ motion to exclude a doctor’s testimony about Kelly’s low IQ; Kelly’s lawyers then asked for the record that they had decided against calling the doctor on trial.

Leinenweber also declined a defense request denying any jurors who had seen any portion of Lifetime’s “Surviving Are Kelly” documentary. Kelly’s lawyers argued that anyone who had seen any part of the series could not be impartial.

However, Leinenweber said that it would not be fair to completely disapprove of anyone watching any part of the show.

Apparently Leninweber at a hearing last week decided on several requests that never went public. Leninweber’s decisions were also not made part of the public record until he read them from the bench on Monday morning.

In a motion filed Sunday, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonzen, wrote that the potential damages on the series, which details years of sexual misconduct allegations against the Chicago-born R&B singer, were exposed to negative pretrial publicity at jurors. There are more than the usual concerns of coming in. ,

“It is the issue of potential jurors who have a mountain of information about the specific allegations in this case and the stories of the witnesses that will play center stage in this trial and may or may not be admissible,” Bonzen wrote. . “Allowing a person to sit on this jury who has seen ‘Surviving Are Kelly’ is no different than allowing the jury to sit on the jury, which was allowed to preview the finding in this case.”

A pool of nearly 100 potential jurors came to the Dirksen US Courthouse last week to fill out a questionnaire including their views on the high-profile defendant who was sentenced in June to 30 years in prison for federal racketeering brought in New York Went.

In his preface, Bonjean revealed that some members of the jury pool had indicated on their forms that they had seen “Surviving Are Kelly” and may not have been fair to Kelly. Others said they could be fair, despite at least some exposure to the series – a representation that Bonzen said was “absurd”.

Kelly, 55, was charged with child pornography and obstruction of justice in a 2019 indictment alleging that he, along with others, rigged his Cook County trial by paying a teenage girl, whom he has now Was sexually assaulted on an infamous videotape.

Also facing trial are Kelly’s former business manager, Darrell McDavid, and another associate, Milton “June” Brown, who, according to the indictment, bought back sex tapes taken from Kelly’s archive and spent years of alleged sexual abuse. had planned to hide. of young girls.

Although Kelly is already facing what could be the rest of her life behind bars, the trial in Chicago is about to begin. seems ripe for intrigue,

For one, Kelly’s attorney, Bonjean, is a seasoned litigant who portrays himself as an unruly and overzealous government, representing controversial clients such as actor Bill Cosby and gangster Disciples boss Larry Hoover. Brown’s attorney, Mary Judge, is also highly respected and a 25-year veteran of the Federal Public Defender’s office in Chicago.

Meanwhile, McDavid is represented by Chicago attorneys Beau Brindley and Vadim Glozman, who pretend they intend to aggressively fight the charges, even if it potentially means throwing Kelly under the bus. .

And in an added twist, Brindley herself was acquitted by Leinenweber Seven years ago on criminal charges he trained clients to lie on the witness stand – a case the Tribune first reported on by the FBI. Brindley’s office raided Across the street from Chicago’s Federal Courtyard in the famous Monadnock Building.

Brindley’s defense attorney in that case, the late Edward Jansen, was Kelly’s lead attorney in the 2008 child pornography trial.

Leinenweber, 85, is one of the senior politicians on Chicago’s federal bench who has a good reputation for objectivity, a sharp knowledge of the law and a fairly low tolerance for nonsense.

Although the evidence is shaky, Kelly’s trial is the most high-profile event at the typically buttoned-down Dirksen US courthouse in the 2 years since the start of the pandemic.

Kelly’s staunch followers – some who live-tweet events in her case and post social media videos that have garnered millions of views – are expected to show up in large numbers to support her, Just like he did in his first Cook County trial and his in Brooklyn. testing.

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And the scene can be just as dramatic inside the courtroom. Recent weeks have seen a flurry of pre-test motions, each seemingly more bombastic than the last.

Prosecutors want to block Kelly’s defense from presenting expert testimony that Kelly’s IQ is around 79, saying that his alleged intellectual deficiencies are irrelevant whether he videotaped himself molesting underage girls. Kelly’s defense wants to prevent prosecutors from calling an expert witness to testify about child sexual abuse and grooming.

Most dramatically, perhaps, McDavid’s legal team argues in a series of strongly worded prosecutors that prosecutors broke the chain of custody for the main videotape of the case, in which Kelly allegedly took his then 13-year-old granddaughter. who sexually harassed her, identified only the charges as Minor 1.

The defense also accuses the former lead prosecutor on the case, Angel Krull, of having inappropriate contact with Minor 1, now in his mid-30s, as well as Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis, whose reporting was decades earlier. Bring the allegations against Kelly to light.

DeRogotis has been summoned as a potential defense witness.

As of Sunday evening, Leinenweber had not made a decision on the pending requests.

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