R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago has begun. Here’s why he’s back in court | CBC News

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Jury selection in the federal trial of R. Kelly, accused of rigging his 2008 state child pornography trial, began Monday with the judge and attorneys quickly focusing on whether potential jurors saw a 2019 documentary about allegations. of sexual abuse against the R&B singer.

After refusing a request by Kelly’s attorney to automatically exclude from the jury anyone who watched the six-part documentary series, Surviving R. KellyUS District Judge Harry Leinenweber questioned potential jurors about how much they saw, what they could remember about it, and whether they could be impartial if selected.

Jurors were asked if they watched the documentary in a questionnaire they had already completed. In one case, a woman who had left her answer blank acknowledged that she had seen several episodes. However, she was not immediately excused from serving.

In all, the judge fired at least half of the people he questioned on Monday. Most of the time, they were excluded after acknowledging that they could not promise to be fair. A woman who excused herself explained that she was not sure because she worked in education with children.

Jury selection was expected to continue through Tuesday.

The trial centers on whether Kelly threatened and paid off a girl he allegedly recorded having sex with when he was in his 30s and she was no older than 14. Jurors acquitted Kelly of all charges at that trial. 2008 and some later explained that they felt they had no choice because the girl did not testify. The woman, now in her 30s and referred to in the documents only as “Minor 1,” will be the government’s star witness in the upcoming federal trial, which is expected to last four weeks.

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Disgraced R&B star R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking. Several of her victims described her abuse at the hearing and the lasting effect on her lives.

Kelly, 55, arrives for this trial in Chicago federal court after being sentenced by a New York federal judge to 30 years in prison for a 2021 conviction on charges that he used his fame to sexually abuse others. young fans.

Wearing a light gray suit and tie, Kelly quickly greeted potential jurors as his attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, introduced him. Kelly wore a mask, as did everyone in court due to coronavirus precautions.

Kelly, who rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side to become a star singer, songwriter and producer, faces multiple charges at trial. They include four counts of enticing minors to have sex, one for each of the other four accusers. They too are scheduled to testify.

The Chicago convictions could add decades to Kelly’s New York sentence, which she is appealing. With the New York sentence alone, Kelly will be around 80 years old before qualifying for early release.

Associates also on trial

Two of Kelly’s associates, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, are co-defendants in the Chicago trial.

McDavid is accused of helping Kelly fix the 2008 trial, while Brown is accused of receiving child pornography. Like Kelly, they have also denied any wrongdoing.

Two state cases are also pending. One is a multi-count sexual assault case in the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago. The other is a solicitation case in Minnesota. No trial dates have been set for either.

Minor 1 is expected to testify that she was videotaped having sex with Kelly. The recording was at the center of the 2008 trial, which lasted a month, and was heard by jurors almost every day.

Minor 1 met Kelly in the late 1990s when he was in high school. He had joined Kelly’s recording studio in Chicago with her aunt, a professional singer who worked with Kelly. Shortly after, Minor 1 told her parents that Kelly would become her godfather.

Prosecutors say Kelly then threatened and tried to pay Minor 1 and her parents not to testify at the 2008 trial. Neither of them did.

The double jeopardy rules prohibit someone from being prosecuted for the same crimes for which they were previously acquitted.

That does not apply to the federal trial in Chicago because prosecutors allege different crimes related to Minor 1, including obstruction of justice.

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