The panel was sworn in on Wednesday after dozens of potential jurors have been screened by U.S. District Decide Ann Donnelly in federal court docket in Brooklyn.
The decide sought assurances from potential jurors that they may stay neutral regardless of the dangerous publicity swirling round Kelly since his 2019 arrest. Some instructed her that they have been primarily conscious of Kelly from his smash hit “I Consider I Can Fly.” Many stated they knew little or nothing concerning the case.
Kelly, 54, received a number of Grammys for “I Consider I Can Fly,” a 1996 track that grew to become an inspirational anthem performed at college graduations, weddings, commercials and elsewhere.
R. Kelly intercourse trafficking trialbegins search for a jury, amid COVID-19 precautions
The jury choice spanned three days with Kelly seen on a video feed sitting impassively on the protection desk, carrying glasses and wearing a go well with. The scene was beamed into an overflow courtroom after a decide took the bizarre step of barring the press and public from watching trial in individual, citing coronavirus concerns.
The multiplatinum-selling singer has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not responsible to prices accusing him of main an enterprise of managers, bodyguards and different staff who helped him recruit girls and ladies for intercourse. Federal prosecutors say the group chosen victims at live shows and different venues and organized for them to journey to see Kelly.
Protection legal professionals have stated Kelly’s alleged victims have been groupies who turned up at his reveals and made it recognized they “have been dying to be with him.” The ladies solely began accusing him of abuse years later when public sentiment shifted within the #MeToo period, they stated.
The trial had been anticipated to begin earlier within the yr. However opening statements have been moved to Aug. 18 after Kelly fired his unique legal professionals.
What to anticipate: R. Kelly faces his first trial on sex-trafficking charges
Jurors are anticipated to listen to testimony from a number of of his accusers.
A decide dominated earlier this month that prosecutors are allowed to current proof about how Kelly allegedly had “sexual contact” with then- teenage singer Aaliyah, known as “Jane Doe #1,” in keeping with court docket paperwork, together with their secret marriage.
The define of the story of Kelly and Aaliyah, who died in a 2001 aircraft crash, has lengthy been recognized though Kelly has by no means admitted to wrongdoing. They secretly married in 1994, when she was 15 and he was 27 – allegedly after he bribed a government official to obtain a fake ID for her displaying her age as 18, in keeping with a 55-page motion filed by prosecutors in July. The wedding was quickly annulled.
In a pre-trial movement, prosecutors allege that Kelly believed she grew to become pregnant, so he secretly organized a marriage to guard himself from doable prison prices, as a result of a spouse cannot be compelled to testify towards a husband.
“It is clearly related and it clearly reveals a motive for Racketeering Act Quantity One, so that’s admissible,” U.S. District Decide Ann Donnelly dominated.
Contributing: Maria Puente