During jury selection for the R&B artist R. Kelly’s trial in Chicago, it was reported that the legal team protecting him struck 14 prospective jurors, 12 of whom were white.
A federal judge in New York has already sentenced Kelly, 55, to 30 years in jail after finding him guilty of sexually abusing youngsters in 2021. Kelly was also notoriously accused of publishing child pornography in 2008, but he was ultimately exonerated when the alleged victim declined to testify against him.
Kelly is now accused of rigging that 2008 trial by reportedly filming himself having sex with that victim when she was only 14 years old and paying off threats to do so. The victim will serve as the government’s “star witness” during R. Kelly’s impending federal trial in Chicago.
Both the prosecution and the defense are permitted to suggest “striking” potential jurors from the pool during the jury selection process for a variety of factors and/or worries. If the judge presiding over the case grants a “strike” against a potential juror, that person will not be allowed to sit on the jury. R. Kelly’s defense disproportionately affected white people.
People were questioned for jury duty. Almost every single strike by the defense in the #RKelly regular jury makeup was of a white individual (about 12). They also attempted to strike a Black woman and an Asian woman.
The choice of strikes by the prosecution was also contested by Kelly’s legal team, who claimed that the majority of them were Black people.
The defense worried that some potential jurors’ opinions of the Grammy-winning defendant would be swayed by their viewing of the docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” but the judge ultimately allowed them to stay in the pool. It’s unclear whether the potential jurors who said they had watched the documentary ended up serving; all that is known is that they weren’t disqualified for it.
Final jury members for R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago are expected to be two black men, two white males, four black women, and four white women.
Two of Kelly’s friends are co-defendants in the Chicago trial. Milton Brown is supposedly charged with receiving child pornography, while Derrel McDavid is reportedly accused with aiding Kelly in fixing the 2008 trial. McDavid and Brown, like Kelly, have both denied any misconduct.