The second trial of disgraced R&B singer-songwriter R. Kelly began on Monday (August 15) when his defense team lost a bid to exclude jurors who have watched Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. According to Variety, jury selection began on Monday morning at the Chicago federal courthouse where Kelly faces charges of child pornography and conspiracy to obstruct an investigation.
The charges stem from the singer’s 2008 trial where Kelly was acquitted after his alleged victim refused to testify. Prosecutors allege that Kelly bribed the girl and her family with money and gifts for her to deny having sex with the artist. The 2008 trial was covered in the Lifetime docuseries and in a motion filed on Sunday (August 14), Kelly’s defense attorney argued that potiental jurors who have watched the show should be barred from the new trial.
“Any person who has seen the documentary would possess information about the allegations in this indictment (and unrelated allegations) that would unquestionably interfere with his/her ability to decide the case based on the evidence that is introduced at trial,” Bonjean previously wrote to US District Judge Harry Leinenweber. “No one, even a well-intentioned person, would be capable of purging his brain of information obtained through the docuseries or separating information learned from the documentary that was never subject to cross-examination from testimony introduced at trial on the same subject matter.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, 100 potential jurors submitted questionnaires last week at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse federal courthouse for potential trial selection. Those submitting were able to share their thoughts on the singer-songwriter, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison in June on federal racketeering charges.
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