Judge in R. Kelly’s Chicago Sex Crimes Trial to Allow Jurors Who’ve Seen Surviving R. Kelly Docuseries – Report
On Monday (Aug. 15), jury selection began for R. Kelly's upcoming trial at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago as he faces more sexual crimes in his home state. Prior to questioning jurors, Judge Harry D. Leinenweber reportedly denied Kelly's attorney Jennifer Bonjean's motion to omit anyone who saw the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries that aired on Lifetime in 2019, according to local Chicago news outlet NBC 5.
In court documents filed on Aug. 14, Bonjean challenged that jurors could be tainted by the infamous docuseries.
"Surviving R. Kelly contains hours of interviews with individuals who share a litany of other allegations of sexual misconduct against Kelly, including some allegations that the government has already conceded it will not introduce at trial," Bonjean wrote.
"There is no scenario under which any individual who watched Surviving R. Kelly could be qualified as a juror in this case whether the person admits it or not," she added. "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."
Judge Leinenweber disagreed. According to NBC News, eight of the 60 people questioned in court on Monday confirmed they'd seen at least part of the docuseries. Only one of those eight people were dismissed. Jury selection continues today.
In the Chicago case, R. Kelly is being accused of child pornography, obstruction of justice and the enticement of minors into criminal sexual activity. Some of the case revolves around over a dozen underage sex tapes authorities have discovered.
R. Kelly is fresh off being sentenced to 30 years in prison in his New York federal sex crimes case after being found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges last year. He still has an open case in Minnesota.