The federal trial for R. Kelly started today, August 15, in Chicago. Following his indictment in July 2019, Kelly is currently facing accusations of obstruction and child pornography in a federal court in Illinois. The trial was initially scheduled to begin on April 27, 2020, but it was postponed because of the COVID-19 epidemic and Kelly’s separate trial in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
On the first day of Kelly’s trial, 60 prospective jurors were interrogated about the singer and the charges against him. Surviving R. Kelly, a 2019 Lifetime documentary, and the jury members’ familiarity with the limited series were major topics of discussion during the trial.
Kelly’s attorney asked that anyone who watched the six-part series be automatically excluded, but U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber rejected the request. The jury pool was downsized to 34 before the court convened. 14 years have passed since Kelly’s initial trial in an Illinois federal court, where he was found not guilty on 14 charges of child pornography.
In the 2008 trial, Kelly was charged with making a sex tape with a minor, but the jury decided that the identification of the female subject was not conclusive because the subject who was allegedly in the video declined to testify.