The R Kelly jury selection for the Chicago trial wasn’t easy. Even though the judge denied dismissing anyone aware of the “Surviving R Kelly” documentary would not be a good fit.
Judge U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, conveyed that the docuseries addresses the exact issue at hand.
This judgement came as part of R Kelly’s attorneys’ request.
Jennifer Bonjean wrote a filed letter on Sunday. The letter concluded any prospective juror who watched any of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” wouldn’t be a good fit. Due to the ability to separate allegations during the documentary versus evidence presented at the trial.
“No one, even a well-intentioned person, would be capable of purging his brain of information obtained through the docuseries. She continued, “or separating information learned from the documentary that was never subject to cross-examination from testimony introduced at trial on the same subject matter.” Bonjean wrote the letter to US District Judge Harry Leinenweber.
Additionally, the 2019 docuseries features interviews with a number of witnesses. Prosecutors intend to call at those witnesses to trial. Including Lisa Van Allen, but also Jerhonda Pace.
Furthermore, “There is substantial overlap between the subject matter of this prosecution and the subject matter of the documentary,” Bonjean wrote.
But the judge stated the docuseries as “Inflammatory” as well as “the precise issues”.
According to NBC as Monday came the court inherited about two dozen potential jurors.
But as the R Kelly jury selection was conducted about 8 among the 60 potential jurors stated they watched part of “Surviving R. Kelly,” 2019 Lifetime series.
But others said they barely knew anything about him. Among them was a man with a doctorate in classical music who said of Kelly, “he’s a musician, and that’s all I know.”
Another said, “I don’t even know who he is.”
No jurors were seated Monday. But after court, Kelly defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean said the jury pool had already been tainted by mentions of Kelly’s previous conviction in court.
“Juries aren’t supposed to know about prior convictions or prior bad acts unless someone takes the stand,” Bonjean said, adding, “How can we be assured that they will not take that into account?”
Jury selection is expected to continue Tuesday morning and opening statements will begin after the panel is selected.
Out of the 8 confirming awareness of the docuseries the judge only dismissed 1 from the R Kelly jury selection.
Kelly along with two of his workers will stand trial. Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown. Both men face obstruction of justice charges stemming from the 2008 trial. As well as child pornography.
The Chicago trial involves five alleged victims, four videos, 13 criminal counts and 24 years of alleged conduct starting in 1996.